Belladonna of Sadness

1973 cartoon

Rating: 17/20

Plot: Jeanne, a woman living in some sort of Trumpian dystopia, is raped and then accused of being a witch. She doesn't handle it very well at all.

More and more, I'm convinced that 1973 was the best year in movie history. This is cheaply (at times, at least) gorgeous and experimental, a mishmash of animated styles that clash, bleed together, and miraculously come together to create a coherent whole. From the terrifyingly minimalistic rape sequence to a continuity-error stuffed montage of pop culture imagery that dropped my jaw to the surreal pornographic sketches, this was just absolutely mesmerizing. There are times when the animated characters and the action is very concrete, times when the camera just pans over stills, and times when it launches into something way more abstract where shapes and lines just suggest moods and hunches. What this doesn't have at all are times when I felt like taking my eyes off the screen or doing something else with my time. I was glued. I've seen lots of animated stuff, and I've seen lots of the animated stuff in this in other stuff before. Together, however, this makes something that I don't believe I've seen before. It's daring, it's beautiful, and it's shocking.

Seriously, you want to see a guy with a giraffe head and neck for a dick, this is more than likely the only movie you're going to find that will satisfy you. A Google image search for "Belladonna of Sadness giraffe head penis" proved fruitless unfortunately.

The score is by Masahiko Satoh, a Japanese avant-garde jazz guy. It always enhances the psychedelic flavor of the imagery, and there were times when I liked what my ears were hearing just as much as what my eyes were seeing.

I'm not sure what the feminist message is supposed to be here, but that's only because the devil, at least here, is a male. I'm a superficial kind of guy anyway, so I can get by with just appreciating the pretty colors and grotesque pornographies.

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