BELLADONNA OF SADNESS
KANASHIMI NO BELLADONNA
1973, Arbelos Films, 89 min, Japan, Dir: Eiichi Yamamoto

One of the great lost masterpieces of Japanese animation, this mad, swirling, psychedelic light-show is equal parts J.R.R. Tolkien and Gustav Klimt-influenced eroticism. The last film in the groundbreaking Animerama trilogy produced by manga godfather 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. An innocent young woman (Aiko Nagayama) is assaulted by the local lord on her wedding night, and to take revenge makes a pact with the Devil (Tatsuya Nakadai), who transforms her into a black-robed vision of madness and desire. Fueled by a mind-blowing Japanese psych-rock soundtrack by Masahiko Satoh, BELLADONNA has been newly restored from the original 35mm camera negative and sound elements and is a major rediscovery for animation fans.


STARCHASER: THE LEGEND OF ORIN
1985, 107 min, South Korea/USA, Dir: Steven Hahn

Zygon, the evil overlord of planet Trinia, forces his slaves to mine crystals day in and day out. One day, a young miner named Orin finds a jeweled sword in the rocks and embarks on a mission to restore peace and civility to his planet. Along the way he meets smugglers, robots and a princess who team with Orin to battle Zygon. Released more than 30 years ago, this sci-fi adventure is one of the first full-length animated features made in the 3-D format.


A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
SEN NOCI SVATOJÁNSKÉ
1959, 72 min, Czechoslovakia, Dir: Jiří Trnka

This bewitching adaptation of Shakespeare’s romantic fairy tale is a masterpiece of surpassing, balletic beauty that plays out amidst a garlanded, pastel dreamscape.


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