• Film ID:
  • 20299
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  • Nationality(ies):
  • Japan.
  • Primary Language(s):
BELLADONNA OF SADNESS (1973)
(KANASHIMI NO BERADONNA )
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Review

It becomes apparent early on when viewing Belladonna of Sadness that this film is quite unique. Certainly the first, and possibly the only animated film that might be classified in the pinku genre. But even though the film is supposedly animated, nothing seems to be moving at first. You instead see a series of elegantly designed still drawings depicting a harmonious wedding between a peasant couple in 14th century France, as a woman sings her narration in the soulful style of a 70s rock opera. This is the film's only joyous scene, as moments later the new groom is pleading with the local land baron to reduce the marriage tax he can't afford. The baron instead decides to exercise his "droit de seigneur" with the bride. It is here, several minutes into the film, that full animation is finally used, in order to depict the rape of the virgin bride with metaphorical imagery much more disturbing than what a literal depiction of the same events could provide. A sign of things to come, as this is only the first in a series of tragic events that push this woman, through desperation, into the world of witchcraft. 

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