Borowczyk's first live-action feature was simultaneously a brilliant debut and a seamless transition from his earlier animation-based work. The story is a simple fable of the destructive force of passion: on a mythical island, the beautiful wife (Branice) of the weak ruler Goto III (Brasseur) is shown to be unfaithful by his chief fly-catcher, Grozo (Saint-Jean). But Grozo's own infatuation for her leads to tragedy. Borowczyk's highly stylised direction, with consciously flattened images, and objects rendered as animate and as significant as human beings, is well complemented by the imperious Brasseur and the extraordinary beauty of Branice. The sudden flashes of colour in a very monochrome context, and the soaring use of a Handel organ concerto, further consolidate a true 'art' film, in the sense that everything is composed and designed to create a wholly imagined - yet tangible - world.