7 user 55 critic

Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

Kanashimi no Beradonna (original title)
Unrated | | Animation, Fantasy | 12 July 2016 (USA)
After being banished from her village, a peasant woman makes a pact with the devil to gain magical ability.


Watch Now

With Prime Video

1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The incredible adventures of Aladdin as he travels through the Middle East in search of love, fortune, and power.

Director: Eiichi Yamamoto
Stars: Sachiko Itô, Haruko Katô, Noboru Mitani
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The film depicts its protagonist, Joseph (Jan Nowicki), traveling through a dream-like world, taking a dilapidated train to visit his dying father in a sanatorium. When he arrives at the ... See full summary »

Director: Wojciech Has
Stars: Jan Nowicki, Tadeusz Kondrat, Irena Orska
Angel's Egg (1985)
Animation | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mysterious young girl wanders a desolate, otherworldly landscape, carrying a large egg.

Director: Mamoru Oshii
Stars: Mako Hyôdô, Jinpachi Nezu, Kei'ichi Noda
Odin (1985)
Animation | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

The crew of the space-ship Starlight set out on a voyage through the sea of stars to find the planet Odin, the birthplace of the universe.

Directors: Takeshi Shirato, Eiichi Yamamoto, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Toshio Furukawa, Edward Glen, Keiko Han
Astro Boy (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Directors: Rintaro, Yoshitake Suzuki, and 1 more credit »
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars: Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Antonin Peretjatko
Stars: Vincent Macaigne, Vimala Pons, Pascal Légitimus
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Director: Pascal Bonitzer
Stars: Agathe Bonitzer, Vincent Lacoste, Lambert Wilson
Daimajin (1966)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A giant stone statue comes to life to protect the residents of a small town against the depradations of an evil warlord.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Miwa Takada, Yoshihiko Aoyama, Jun Fujimaki
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In a mountainous region of Japan, Lord Arakawa kidnaps the men of nearby villages to use as slave labor, producing gunpowder from his sulfur pits. A band of young boys decide to rescue their enslaved fathers on their own.

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Hideki Ninomiya, Shinji Hori, Masahide Iizuka
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After spending a year in solitary confinement, Matsu escapes from prison with six more convicts, followed by the guards led by the vengeful warden who wants her dead at all costs.

Director: Shun'ya Itô
Stars: Meiko Kaji, Fumio Watanabe, Yukie Kagawa
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Giant statue exacts revenge upon those who conquer its worshippers.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Kôjirô Hongô, Shiho Fujimura, Tarô Marui


Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Katsuyuki Itô ...
Jean (as Katsutaka Ito)
Aiko Nagayama ...
Jeanne / Belladonna
Shigako Shimegi ...
The Lord's Mistress
Masaya Takahashi ...
Natsuka Yashiro ...
The Witch
Masakane Yonekura ...
The Priest


After being banished from her village, a peasant woman makes a pact with the devil to gain magical ability.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Animation | Fantasy


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 July 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Belladonna  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although it was released theatrically in Japan and Europe in the 1970s, and had a Japanese home video release in 2004, the 2015 restoration by Cinelicous is the first time the film has had an official release in the United States. See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no ending credits or a 'THE END' title; all the credits are at the beginning. The opening theme is reprized over a blank screen after the final scene. The 2015 restoration adds a copyright byline and credits for the restoration. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A highly underrated and experimental adult art film with a lasting impact.
20 March 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews


Kanashimi no Belladonna, literally translated as 'Belladonna of Sadness' or figuratively as 'The Tragedy of Belladonna' is an avant- garde feature film produced by Mushi Production and directed/co- written by Eiichi Yamamoto in 1973. It was loosely inspired by the 1862 book La Sorcière (Satanism and Witchcraft) by French historian Jules Michelet. It's also the third and final installment in the Animerama trilogy conceived by manga god Osamu Tezuka, but is the only one that was neither written nor directed by him.

This isn't your typical anime by any stretch of the imagination. The rating is listed as Rx, but rest assured it isn't intended to induce erotic pleasure in any way, shape or form. It's a dark and twisted experimental sequence of art and storytelling that should be treated no less.


Belladonna of Sadness tells the tragedy of the beautiful peasant woman Jeanne who was raped by the land baron of her village on her wedding night after the couple failed to meet marriage taxes. Spurned by her husband, she decided to make a pact with the devil to gain wealth and power, but not without facing certain consequences. Jeanne becomes a suspect of witchcraft, and is subsequently banished from her village by the baron.

However, with the village quickly becoming swallowed by the cusp of the bubonic plague the baron is forced to change his heart. He summons Jeanne back and offers her the rank of highest noble in return for her to rescue them from despair with the mysterious flower she possessed. Regardless, Jeanne's motives were altered by her painful experiences, and she refused to accept such an offer.. which ultimately leads to her fate and the pinnacle of the film.

The final scene ends with an image of Eugène Delacroix's 'La Liberté guidant le people.' The painting features a female personification of liberty itself, leading a mixture of social classes during the French Revolution. In the film Jeanne finds herself in a similar position, and her impact on society can be compared with that of Joan of Arc, Salem witch trials, and several prominent women in history.

This story is depicted rather well throughout the duration of the film and is often told metaphorically with symbolism rather than figuratively with speech. The nature of it is widely subjective, but certainly compelling nonetheless. I believe it's most rewarding with an open mind.


The characters aren't a strong aspect of the film. The only truly memorable character is Jeanne, but like the others she lacks any real development. This doesn't hinder the experience in the end, because the characters were never really intended to be a centerfold. They merely exist as a route of administration for the lessons and morals lurking in the shadows of the film.

Jeanne's character in particular appears to represent feminism, and relates to a myriad of prominent women throughout history. Especially when considering her comparison with Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc).

Michelet's book La Sorcier which inspired Belladonna of Sadness arguably depicts the story of Joan of Arc, and portrays her resistance against feudalism and the Catholic Church. The similarities with Jeanne can be seen most in the final scenes of the film.


The visuals are reminiscent of watercolor paintings and heavily influenced by western art. It often hangs in limbo between realism and surrealism, and surely isn't considered typical. The quality is fair considering it was produced in the 70s. It's also pending the release of a 4k restoration that will greatly enhance the clarity and colors.


The animation suffers greatly where the art shines. Many of the scenes are depicted by panning across still paintings rather than being animated. This could be seen as a matter of style or budget, but it definitely could've benefited from consistency. Regardless, I think the animation can be forgiven considering the era it was produced.


The music is as funky as the era it came from and varies greatly from the Rock Opera to Psychedelic genre and beyond. It's almost always fitting, and creates indescribable emotions that go hand in hand with the images on screen.


A belladonna is a highly toxic flower, which also stands for 'beautiful woman.' In the past, witches were believed to use a mixture of belladonna and other plants in flying ointment, which they applied to help them fly to gatherings with other witches. A theory for the inclusion of belladonna in flying ointments concerns the dream-like waking state it produces.

Much of the scenes in the film are depicted as if the viewer was under the influence of the belladonna flower. Similar to the flower, the film itself can also be interpreted from many different perspectives.

In my eyes Belladonna of Sadness holds significant implications regarding sexuality, feminism, religion, and history. It presents a thought provoking succession of metaphorical imagery far ahead of its time, and I won't ever forget the impact it had on me.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Belladonna of Sadness (1973) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: