Austin's Fantastic Fest to Show Belladonna Anime Film, Assassination Classroom Live-Action Film

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Film festival also screening Takashi Miike's Yakuza Apocalypse

The Fantastic Fest film festival announced its second wave of film screenings on Wednesday. The festival will screen the live-action Assassination Classroom film, Eiichi Yamamoto's 1973 experimental anime film Belladonna of Sadness (Kanashimi no Belladonna), and Takashi Miike's Yakuza Apocalypse live-action film.

The live-action Assassination Classroom film premiered in Japan on March 21, opening at #1 in the Japanese box-office in its opening weekend with a 410,788,100 yen (about US$3.44 million) gross. Eiichirō Hasumi (Umizaru films, Wild 7) directed the film, and Tatsuya Kanazawa (Saru Lock The Movie, Lucky Seven) wrote the script.

Viz Media published the fourth English volume of the manga in North America in June. The company describes the story:

A humorous and action-packed story about a class of misfits who are trying to kill their new teacher – an alien octopus with bizarre powers and super strength! The teacher has just destroyed the moon and is threatening to destroy the earth – unless his students can destroy him first. What makes things more complicated is that he's the best teacher they've ever had!

The manga also inspired a 22-episode television anime series that premiered in Japan in January. Funimation streamed the anime as it aired in Japan. The franchise is inspring a second anime season and a sequel live-action film.

The story of Belladonna of Sadness follows Jeanne (Katsutaka Ito) after she is assaulted by a local lord on her wedding night. Vowing revenge, she makes a deal with the Devil (Tatsuya Nakadai). The Devil transforms Jeanne into a black-robed manifestation of her madness and desire.

Cinelicious Pics restored Belladonna of Sadness in 4K resolution from its original 35mm negative, with plans to release the film in theaters, home video, and on demand this year. The film has not been widely released in the United States before, although it was screened in Los Angeles in 2009 and at Montreal's Fantasia Fest in 2013. The Japan Cuts film festival also recently screened the film on July 10.

Osamu Tezuka produced the film, which was written and directed by his long-time creative partner Eiichi Yamamoto (Star Blazers scriptwriter, Astro Boy: Hero of Space) at Mushi Productions. Masahiko Satoh (Grave of the Fireflies, The Fantastic Adventures of Unico) composed the film's soundtrack.

Takashi Miike's Yakuza Apocalypse (Gokudō Daisensō) film opened in Japan on June 20. Fantastic Fest describes the film:

After a yakuza vampire boss is struck down, his most loyal disciple takes it upon himself to avenge his mentor's death and eliminate the assassins and their giant plush frog leader in Miike's classic yakuza tale turned inside out.

This year's Fantastic Fest film festival will take place in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas from September 24 to October 1.

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