I thought going back to the seventies would avoid the tentacle porn implication that Japan gets associated with in anime but there's a few scenes, so it's not quite far enough. But there are scenes which are gorgeous a mixture of paintbrush, watercolour and pencil art that takes a story that has elements of Marquis De Sade inspiration and psychedelic music interwoven within this tragic tale of animated erotica.
What an amazing film , remember seeing this at a friends house in a Vhs and i was the only one that i like it ( back at 1988 ) could not understand why my friends didn't like it ,i was trying for years to see it again , and when Cinelicious Pics release the restore version of the film i was amazed once more ,design , music , story all works perfectly in a movie that plays with your mind and how you see things around
3-4. Setting aside my issues with rape revenge stories, this is a visually astonishing piece that really knows how to command abstract fairy tale language. It really surprises me that there are people here who don't understand why the film ties itself to the French revolution in its ending. The point that women were at the front line is spelled plainly in hiragana. The revolution's context fits plainly with the film.
In expressing the full emotional gamut of the unity of the sexual with the spiritual, and the name even hints at it, Belladonna of Sadness unites beauty with the profane - the content still finds fresh psychological buttons to push. So the animation itself goes beyond simple elegance - it's palpable, immediate, and often the correct definition of scandalous - which in my opinion, is in its favor.
I don't understand how people feel comfortable calling this a "masterpiece" considering how easily the film disregards the female body. A majority of the plot simply moves from one rape scene to the next. There's some babbling about the Bastille and revolution in the 2nd half, but what will people really remember?...it's the psychedelic animation and the constant rape—that's troubling to me.