Jeanne (Aiko Nagayama) and Jean (Katsuyuki Itô) just got married and are very much in love. But the Lord (Masaya Takahashi) who rules over their village has the right to the first night according to tradition – and he takes it and rapes Jeanne. After she returns to Jean, they try to forget what happened and start their life together. But Jeanne finds herself visited by a phallic demon (Tatsuya Nakadai) who urges her to take revenge.
Belladonna of Sadness is a beautiful film. Striking visuals, haunting music and a challenging story make it something really very special.
Joseph (Jan Nowicki) travels to the sanatorium where his father lies dying. The train ride there is already unusual, but the sanatorium itself seems to exist completely outside of time. It’s a crumbling ruin where his father seems to be the only patient, with only a nurse and a doctor present. The more Joseph stays there, the more he loses himself in a series of ever more absurd dreams.
The Hourglass Sanatorium is a weird film that follows dream logic with amazing accuracy and delivers some awesome images. But two hours is too long for that to work.
Police Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) flies out to a little Scottish island after receiving an anonymous letter informing him of the disappearance of a young girl. But all his investigations are undermined by the village inhabitants who are more preoccupied with their heathen belief. Howie, a devout Christian, is appalled at those practices and the non-chalance with which the disappearance, if acknowledged at all, is treated. He is convinced that something weird is going on – and determined to find out what it is.
I had only ever seen the Nicolas-Cage-remake of this film which was not particularly good as far as I remember (and every one else). But this version of the story is rather special and makes it clear why it is a cult film that got remade in the first place.