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REVIEW: Belladonna of Sadness

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Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 4:29 pm Reply with quote
I'd like to see it, but I'd rather see the other two Animerama films get some 4K love.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2008
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Location: Crackberry in hand, thumbs at the ready...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:26 am Reply with quote
Thanks for the beautiful review. My interest has been piqued, but I'm nervous about the content. Are there any plans to release this film via streaming platforms or even digital download so those of us who missed its limited cinema run can see it without buying a Blu ray?
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Joined: 03 Jul 2013
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Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:46 pm Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
I'd like to see it, but I'd rather see the other two Animerama films get some 4K love.

Yes! 'One Thousand and One Arabian Nights' and 'Cleopatra, Queen of Sex' are the other two. Both are really hard to find, at least, it has stumped me for a long time. I wanted to find a physical copy rather than watch a fansub. They only two releases for all three films were Japanese single DVDs in 2004, and finding the later Animerama set with all three is really lucky. (Please come back, EdoIKI!) I would love a R1/Blu-ray A set release for all of them too. Maybe with publishers issuing remasters of old series, it could happen. Talking about it, at least, helps garner interest.

Edit: Spelling and grammersmithing.
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Joined: 02 Oct 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:47 am Reply with quote
rokon wrote:
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, spoiler[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.

what's so 'radical' about 'the middle ages were really shitty to women'? chances are even most men in 70s Japan would've agreed. Eiichi Yamamoto later worked heavily as a writer on Yamato, a show by the (at least then) very misogynist Leiji Matsumoto where a lady constantly being groped and undressed by a goofy comedy relief robot pervert is treated as comedy. and before that he worked on the earlier Animerama movies - 1001 Nights in particular treats rape in a comical way.

the book was written by a dude in 1862 who (obviously) did not identify as feminist.
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