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.