November 14, 2020
1405.) We’ll be playing catch-up forever with the period of the late Sixties and early Seventies, when the film world exploded with unique, amorphous creations that mirrored the weird alternate directions society was going in during that time. And a lot of these films were aimed solely at [gasp!] adult viewers. Case in point: Belladonna of Sadness (1973), a cult Japanese animated feature that blends a French folk tale about sorcery in with fine art, psychedelia, rock opera, a heartsick romance, battle scenes, and Satanism. Plus, sex – and not the giddy, tee-hee dirty-joke kind of sex aimed at American teens, but intense, crazed (and Satanic) adult sex – in a cartoon even. The film’s look draws on everything from erotic etchings (and also standard anime) to Klimt, Beardsley, and yes, Yellow Submarine. As is often said about movies from the era “that keeps on giving, and giving, and…” they wouldn’t make this sort of thing today.