Cinelicious Pics, SpectreVision and The Cinefamily have unveiled a tantalizing new trailer for Eiichi Yamamoto’s controversial 1973 film, BELLADONNA OF SADNESS — one of the great lost masterpieces of Japanese animation, newly restored in 4k for this first-ever U.S. release.
The explicit NSFW trailer offers a glimpse into the mad and sensual tale of Jeanne, an innocent young woman who makes a pact with the devil (voiced by Tatsuya Nakadai, from Akira Kurosawa’s RAN).
Filled with explicit Egon Schiele-inspired eroticism, the film is a swirling, psychedelic light-show of medieval tarot-card imagery replete with horned demons, haunted forests and La Belle Dame Sans Merci. Extremely transgressive and not for the easily offended, BELLADONNA is fueled by a mindblowing Japanese psych rock soundtrack by noted avant-garde jazz composer Masahiko Satoh.
BELLADONNA OF SADNESS opens May 6th at the brand new Metrograph theater in New York, the Alamo Drafthouse at the New Mission in San Francisco, and at The Cinefamily in Los Angeles the week of May 13, with a national roll-out to follow.
The film was the last in the adult-themed Animerama Trilogy produced by the godfather of Japanese anime & manga, Osamu Tezuka, and directed by his long time collaborator Eiichi Yamamoto (ASTRO BOY, KIMBA THE WHITE LION).
All but lost since the its 1970s release, the film was restored by Cinelicious Pics using the original 35mm camera negative and sound elements – including over 8 minutes of surreal and explicit footage cut from the negative.
Praising the film for its wild, pioneering visual style, Vice’s J.W. McCormack writes:
” [Anime’s] first masterpiece was Belladonna of Sadness (Kanashimi no Beradonna), a film that has a visual style so sui generis that I can only compare it to Sesame Street if Sesame Street were, as my paternal grandmother believed, a recruiting film for LSD-addled freakazoids and the Church of Satan.”
In conjunction with the theatrical release, Hat & Beard and Cinelicious will be releasing a book about the movie: Belladonna of Sadness: A Companion to the 1973 Cult Japanese Anime Film. The book will feature the first-ever in-depth interviews translated in English with director Eiichi Yamamoto, illustrator Kuni Fukai and famed jazz musician & soundtrack composer Masahiko Satoh, plus stunning color reproductions of the film’s surreal artwork, and interviews with Cinelicious’ restoration artists on rescuing the long-lost complete version of the film.
Both the regular edition and special Limited Edition (including Blu-ray, 1-sheet poster, pins and other goodies) of the book are available for pre-order on Hat & Beard’s website starting next week.