Director: Eiichi Yamamoto
He was born in 1940 and took interest in animation when he was a junior in high school. He joined Mushi Production which Osamu Tezuka established as his first animation studio in 1960. He directed three animations, of which Belladonna Of Sadness is one. It is called Animerama, a series of animations made for an adult audience which Osamu Tezuka had initiated.
Belladonna of Sadness
Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto
Animator Gisaburo Sugii
© Mushi Production
This story was inspired by Jules Michelet’s non-fiction book Satanism and Witchcraft. It is set in France during medieval times where Christianity had reached its zenith and the feudal lord was the personification of God. It is the dark ages for woman of the serfdom. They were held in contempt not only by their position in the society but for the sheer fact that they were women.
The narrative style is both daring and ambitious: the story begins with one black line that metamorphoses into various objects like flowers, birds, humans and ultimately, the World as it becomes the setting of the story. The key drawing, which was done by Kuni Fukai, was water color painted Collage which contained a sharp contrast of images that were either still or in motion. It was designed to express the maximum potential of animation.
This is a story about a young and beautiful woman, who has lived a life of hardships. She sells her soul to Satan in order to obtain the powers that enable her to lead a rebellion, but it ends tragically as she is burned at stake.