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Category:    Home > Reviews > Anime > Animation > Abstract > Pop Art > Counterculture > Tragedy > Fantasy > Japan > Belladonna of Sadness (1973/Cinelicious Pics Blu-ray)

Belladonna of Sadness (1973/Cinelicious Pics Blu-ray)

Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C Film: B+

Jeanne and Jen were once young starcrossed lovers with full of potential and life until Jeanne was raped by their lord on their wedding day. Since then, she has been trading pieces of herself body and her soul to a mysterious black figure for power ...and her revenge in Eiichi Yamamoto's animated gem Belladonna of Sadness (1973).

Jeanne was a beautiful, kind and clever village girl which everyone loved and respected and was to marry her childhood sweetheart Jean, but that was not their happy ever after... on the wedding day she was raped by their lord and she made a deal with the devil to in order save her sanity and mind. Even after becoming a successful seamstress, she was still envied by the queen and cast out of the village, claiming she was a wicked seductress. A year later, when the black plague ravaged the land, Jeanne finds a cure and still the Queen calls a witch and she is burned at the stake.

This was an artistic film made from Japanese animation of the time in the 1960s and 1970s, like watch an animation on LSD. It felt like it was a reflection woman's treatment of in the counterculture period in light of Japanese reaction to U.S. military bases in Japan (Japan lost WWII, they can't militarize and thus, the bases). Perhaps the film was brought out again to remind people of what happened in the past.

Though there can be impressive color here at times, the 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image is very hand drawn and may look limited or even 'cheap' to some, but this is the intended style, in a new 4K transfer here. Unfortunately, it is still a limited presentation and that affects the rating. The sound is here in two Japanese presentations in lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 (Master Audio) sound: a passable monophonic track and relatively better stereo track. This can show the films age, but like the image, is as good as this will ever likely look or sound. Extras include booklet, an essay by scholar Dennis Bartok and trailers.

- Ricky Chiang


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