One of the great lost masterpieces of Japanese animation, Belladonna of Sadness circulated for years in bootleg form among anime enthusiasts before being painstaking digitally restored last year.
Raped on her wedding night by the local lord, Jeanne takes revenge by making a pact with the Devil. Having assumed supernatural powers, she becomes a prominent, feared figure in the village, eventually leading a rebellion against the ruling class.
Unfolding as a series of delicate still watercolours, alternating with darkly beautiful moving graphics, its transgressive images are set to a mind-blowing psych rock soundtrack from avant-garde jazz composer Masahiko Satohthe. The third and last of the adult-themed Animerama trilogy produced by the ‘Godfather of Manga’ Osamu Tzuka and directed by his long-time collaborator Eiichi Yamamoto (Astro Boy).
Japan 1973 Dir Eiichi Yamamoto 86 min
New digital restoration
In Japanese with English subtitles