Tuesday, 30 August
Goto, Island of Love
GOTO, ISLE OF LOVE * 1969 * (Goto l'île d'amour) * Directed by Walerian Borowczyk * 93 minutes * In French with English subtitles
Time stands still on a surreal island dictatorship devastated by a 19th century earthquake...
This was the first feature film directed by the eccentric Polish cinematic wizard Walerian Borowczyk. Here the director throws all of his imagination into concocting a story about a surreal island where time stands still. The set-up is this: the island of Goto was devastated back in 1887, when 99% of its population perished from an earthquake. A new governor (Pierre Brasseur) has come forward and taken charge of the situation, ruling the island with an iron fist. Even the smallest of crimes could carry the death sentence. The result is a bizarre, absurdist society cut off from the rest of the world... making this movie a fusion of hard realism and dreamy surrealism. This self-proclaimed dictator lives in a huge castle, but even such a heavily-armed fortress that can prevent all attacks, and it certainly cannot protect the dictator's wife from falling in love with a young soldier.
This is a cinematic vision of a graphic artist, and Borowczyk obviously used a hands-on approach to all the sets, subtly painting them like a canvas. A fable lingering somewhere between Shakespeare and Kafka, it's a highly visual portrait of a make-believe surrealist dictatorship. The director always had a penchant for absurdist comedy and erotica, so these threads also run through this flick.
Today this movie is almost unknown, but it was the favorite film of fantasy-supernatural writer Angela Carter, along with the British photographer John Goto (who even named himself after it). Because of Its cutting satire it was banned in both Communist Poland and Franco's Spain. I find it interesting that this flick was an inspiration for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but the two movies are also radically different in mood.
This will be a high-definition screening.
Date & Time:
- 3-5 €