|torchic91 wrote: |
I had the privilege of seeing the 4K restoration in theatres a few weeks ago. I have difficulty calling the entire film radically feminist considering the exploitative, copious nudity of Jeanne throughout the film, though it certainly has feminist elements embedded within the film.
I respectfully have to disagree. I too was able to see the 4K restoration and immediately prior to the film's actual screening, Cinelicious showed a four or five minute introduction to the film in which the speaker also claimed the movie was not
a feminist film. (Quite honestly, I was taken aback by this comment and surprised it received Cinelicious's endorsement.) I feel that her reasoning for this was due to the rape scene and other non-consensual sex. However, though Jeanne was clearly traumatized by this, she later gained power over her own sexuality and sense of agency and, though she was ultimately labelled a witch and killed for her newfound non-conformist sense of self
, the movie showed that her actions and philosophy inspired other women who themselves would later go on to inspire others, eventually leading to the social reform in the French Revolution.
Similarly, the relatively large amounts of Jeanne's nudity, at least in my opinion, was not the pandering, titillating fanservice that we've become accustomed to today in harem series or onsen episodes that is intended exclusively for straight male gaze. This kind of fanservice tends to use close-ups of jiggling breasts or sexual poses to excite the audience. On the other hand, in Belladonna, the nudity rarely focused solely on Jeanne's breasts and featured the nudity more as an expression initially of her sexual trauma (e.g. the rape scene, the scene where her green cloak was torn up), but then ultimately of her ownnership of herself as a self-empowered sexual being (e.g. the scenes where she has sexual conduct with the Devil, the scene with the orgy she facilitates, the sex scene with Jean). As such, I did not find the nudity in the movie to be exploitative, but instead a mark of Jeanne's liberation from the establishment and I personally cannot see the film as anything but radically feminist, doubly so given the fact that it was a 1973 Japanese animated movie: a time, place, and medium still very unaccustomed to the notion of feminism.