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.


THE INNER SCAR
LA CICATRICE INTERIEURE
1972, The Film Desk, 60 min, France, Dir: Philippe Garrel

Perhaps the most striking of several collaborations between Philippe Garrel and singer-songwriter Nico (the director’s longtime lover and muse), this experimental travelogue was shot in such disparate locations as Death Valley and Iceland, and is filled with stark, dreamlike imagery. As well as appearing onscreen, Nico supplied the music to the film, much of which would appear on her "Desertshore" album.


THE FRIGHTENERS
1996, Universal, 110 min, New Zealand/USA, Dir: Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson’s follow-up to the acclaimed HEAVENLY CREATURES was this unusual mix of horror and dark comedy. Michael J. Fox stars as architect Frank Bannister, who gains the ability to see spirits after his wife’s death in an accident. At first Bannister exploits this power to set up a ghostbusting business - until he crosses paths with a dead serial killer who is still looking for victims. Shot in New Zealand (which a chunk of the film’s sizable digital effects budget turned into Middle America), the film earned eight Saturn Award nominations and features a score by Danny Elfman.


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