Kanashimi no Belladonna (literally Belladonna of Sadness, also known as The Tragedy of Belladonna) is an avant-garde anime film made in 1973 and Inspired By Jules Michelet's non-fiction book Satanism and Witchcraft (or La Sorciere).The story follows the peasant woman Jeanne, who has just been Happily Married to Jean when the village nobility demands an absurdly high marriage tax. The couple can't pay, so the baron sees fit to have his way with the bride.When she returns home, Jeanne is seduced by a demon and finds herself gradually turning to witchcraft to find empowerment and freedom. At first, she and her husband are prosperous, but as famine, war, and the bubonic plague strike the rest of the village, suspicion grows and Jeanne is eventually cast out of the village. She wins the villagers over when she offers a miracle cure for the plague, but then the nobility catches wind of her power...Although the film was initially a commercial failure, it has gained some recognition in anime circles for its experimental animation, which is full of beautifully painted still images, Art Nouveau inspired imagery, and heavily stylized depictions of sex. The film also inspired Kunihiko Ikuhara to work in anime, and its visual and thematic influences can be seen in Revolutionary Girl Utena.
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