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Belladonna of Sadness
DTS-HD MA Stereo
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One of the great lost masterpieces of Japanese animation, never before officially released in the U.S., BELLADONNA OF SADNESS is a mad, swirling, psychedelic light-show of medieval tarot-card imagery with horned demons, haunted forests and La Belle Dame Sans Merci with J.R.R. Tolkien influences. The last film in the Animerama trilogy produced by the godfather of Japanese anime & manga, Osamu Tezuka and directed by his longtime collaborator Eiichi Yamamoto (ASTRO BOY and KIMBA THE WHITE LION), BELLADONNA unfolds as a series of spectacular still watercolor paintings that bleed and twist together. A young woman, Jeanne (voiced by Aiko Nagayama) is assaulted by the local lord on her wedding night. To take revenge, she makes a pact with the Devil himself (voiced by Tatsuya Nakadai, from Akira Kurosawa's RAN) who appears as a sprite and transforms her into a black-robed vision of madness and desire.
Extremely transgressive, BELLADONNA is fueled by a mind-blowing Japanese psych rock soundtrack by noted avant-garde jazz composer Masahiko Satoh. The film has been newly restored by Cinelicious Pics using the original 35 mm camera negative and sound elements and including over 8 minutes of surreal footage cut from the negative. On par with Rene Laloux's FANTASTIC PLANET and Ralph Bakshi's WIZARDS as an LSD-stoked 1970s head trip, BELLADONNA marks a major rediscovery for animation fans. If Led Zeppelin had a favorite film, this would be it. In other words, Stairway to Hell.
- New Video Interviews with Director Eiichi Yamamoto, Art Director Kuni Fukai, and Composer Masahiko Satoh
- Red Band Trailer, Green Band Trailer, Original Trailer
- 16 page booklet
A Bewitching Masterpiece. ---Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
See Belladonna now or be damned to perdition! ---Robert Brenner, The Huffington Post
Belladonna Of Sadness is a major re-discovery. ---Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, A.V. Club
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First off you have the pornographic elements which will already turn most people off. It's not as though it's porn, either. There is a structured narrative in place, and a damn good one, but getting passed the graphic nature is going to be hard for most and it's not going to draw in a lot of people on that basis, alone, so I'm guessing most will probably tap out damn near immediately.
Second is the fact that it's animated. This is clearly an adult title but the target audience will most definitely brush it off because it's not live action. In Mexico, it's a little different, we are probably more accepting of something of this nature and if you're an anime fan you're probably already used to being willing to experience abstract stories or less than your everyday normalcy in your animation, but for a 'general audience' viewer this is a bit like jumping into the deep end and probably won't be able to stick around long enough to appreciate the movie dismissing it as a cartoon and thus unable to take it seriously.
Lastly, the abstract nature of the film, which is probably going to be too heavy for most. This is a rather psychedelic movie and if you can get behind that then more power to ya, but more than just that the movie is full of other forms of abstract metaphors, stylized visuals and narrative that I don't know if it would fall under the 3 act structure, I'll have to get back to you on that.
With all that being said, if you can get through the movie, give it a fair chance, you'll find a fascinating story told in an equally fascinating way. A rather unique experience but one you should look into before you commit to it.
This is pretty much one of the best movies i have every seen.