The year is 40,000. After peaceful floating in zero-gravity, astronaut Barbarella lands on the frozen planet Lythion and sets out to find renowned scientist Durand Durand in the City of Night, Sogo, where a new sin is invented every hour. There, she encounters such objects as the Excessive Machine, a genuine sex organ on which an expert artist of the keyboard, in this case, Durand Durand himself, can drive a victim to death by pleasure, a lesbian queen who can make her fantasies take form in her Chamber of Dreams, and a group of ladies smoking a giant hookah which dispenses Essence of Man through a poor victim struggling in its glass globe. You can not help but be impressed by the special effects crew and the various ways that were found to tear off what minimal clothes our heroine seemed to possess. Written by
The film was made prior to actress Jane Fonda's "politicization" and maturation, and the evolution of her political persona. When asked to defend the film in the context of her feminist political views, she had no choice but to accept it. She couldn't rewrite history, despite the obvious "sex symbol" nature of the Barbarella character, which feminists felt exploited women. See more »
Mark Hand calls the scientist Barbarella has been assigned to locate as "Durand Durand Jr." No one else calls him that. See more »
Stand by for a message from Dianthus, President of Earth and Rotating Premier of the Sun System.
See more »
In the opening credits, the letters in the words move around in an attempt to obscure Barbarella's nudity. See more »
This is eye candy from start to finish-- *including* one of the most baroque title sequences ever concocted (long before digital technology made this kind of playful titling standard). It's Franco-Italian design all the way through, a celebration of petroleum products and the best of the lava lamp aesthetic. Hard to tell if it's a parody of sci-fi or a parody of porn, or same difference is probably the point. There are some very stylized, sadomasochistic uses of Jane Fonda's long legs, at the same time that Fonda delivers the wittiest lines, in a very witty screenplay by Terry Southern (of Doctor Strangelove fame): "Decrucify my angel immediately!" (Kids, see if you can spot the Chucky in this 1968 precursor.) Skeptics should stay the course to learn what Duran Duran has to do with Barbarella. And Barbarella with the Black Queen. And the Black Queen with the Rolling Stones. And if you don't know what camp is, then you have to see Barbarella: even if the film is more sublime than camp, a kind of psychedelic Brechtian fantasia. (If that's not a contradiction in terms, then this isn't on my sci-fi shortlist.) One to own, to watch again and again.
110 of 141 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?