Belladonna of Sadness is one of the most controversial animated movies ever made. The Japanese anime is a psychedelic trip that features mind-bending scenes of disturbing and intense imagery. The look of the film is heavily influenced by the styles and cultural interests of the 1960s, and the story pulls no punches when tackling themes of madness and desire. Belladonna is a film that may not be easy to watch, but it is an unforgettable experience unlike any other.
The film is the third entry in the controversial adult-themed ‘Animerama’ trilogy that included 1969’s A Thousand and One Nights and 1970’s Cleopatra. Belladonna of Sadness is a graphic depiction of one woman’s descent into hallucinatory madness as she is plagued by visions of evil spirits that possess her body and mind. Extreme sequences filled with violence and nudity are inserted throughout the film, and the animation style adds a sense of drug-induced mania on top of things.
Belladonna is incredibly graphic, so much so that viewers with weak dispositions may want to stay away. For fans of experimental cinema and adult animation, this film is a lost gem that plays out as a bold statement of counter-cultural influences mixed with occult themes. The story is somewhat based off of the book La Sorcière, written in 1862 by French historian Jules Michelet. It’s no wonder that this film was reduced to underground cult legend status for so many years due to its influences including the exploration of female sexuality, witchcraft, and Satanism.
Cinelicious Pics has made it their priority to remaster the film in 4K to bring us the best possible version of what some have called a brilliant, psychedelic cult classic. Belladonna of Sadness is currently playing in theaters across the country as it moves from state to state and it’s not to be missed. Very rarely do we get the opportunity to see such a profound film get an amazing release like this, let alone on the big screen. This movie is a must see for fans of intense animation and the avant-garde. Track down your closest screening and see Osamu Tezuka and Eiichi Yamamoto’s unbelievable anime masterpiece. It’s a once in a lifetime event.