Cinelicious Pics, which launched earlier this year as the film distribution division of parent company Cinelicious, has signed an exclusive deal to restore and distribute the 1973 Japanese animated masterpiece “Belladonna of Sadness.” The announcement represents the first major restoration and re-release for Cinelicious Pics. The company will restore the feature using the original 35mm camera negative and sound elements.
Produced by Osamu Tezuka (“Metropolis, “Astro Boy”) and directed by his long time collaborator Eiichi Yamamoto, “Belladonna” is a surrealist animation full of psychedelic light shows, medieval tarot-card imagery, horned demons and haunted forests. The film, about an assaulted woman who takes revenge by making a pact with the Devil, unfolds as a series of spectacular still watercolor paintings that bleed together like an animated version of Chris Marker’s “La Jetée.” “Belladonna” features voice work from Katsutaka Ito and Tatsuya Nakadai and a Japanese psych rock score by Masahiko Sato. The film is the last entry in Tezuka’s “Animerama” trilogy.
“It took months of negotiations to convince the Japanese rightsholders to entrust us with the original camera negative of the film which we’re restoring in-house,” said Cinelicious Pics’ President Paul Korver. “People will be simply blown away by the wild, hallucinatory images and soundtrack.”
The distribution division of Cinelicious is anticipating a 2015 theatrical and VOD release in North America.