Release year: 1968
Director: Roger Vadim
Screenwriter: Jean-Claude Forest (comic), Terry Southern, Roger Vadim
Starring: Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O’Shea, Marcel Marceau, Claude Dauphin, Véronique Vendell
The year is 40.000 and astronaut Barbarella (Jane Fonda) is sent on a mission to find and stop the evil scientist Durand Durand (Milo O’Shea).
Vadim’s (Et Dieu… créa la femme (1956) adaptation of the French Sci-Fi comic by the same name, is almost the definition of camp. A silly story, far-out-of-the-galaxy set designs, a blind angel regaining the will to fly through sex and a machine designed to kill you with pleasure. Barbarella is definitely best if not taken to seriously. Fonda (Nine to Five, 1980) plays her heroine straight and innocent, making her something as rare as a female superhero with the softer female character traits rather than the harder male qualities. In this way Barbarella is a very feminine Sci-Fi movie, despite its overload of female nudity and sex. Because watching the movie does make you wonder, if it was made simply for Vadim, Fonda’s husband at the time, to have an excuse to show of Fonda’s beautiful body. Fonda’s character often changes to yet another skimpy outfit and just as soon looses it again. Vadim was particular known for making movies with an erotic quality and Barbarella is no exception, in fact, it seems almost like a sex fantasy created by a Sci-Fi geek with no experience. For thought there are lots of sex-scenes, they are all very innocent and even accompanied by lounge music, with the soundtrack obviously aiming for a fun and futuristic approach. The futuristic setting is a very sixties version of the future and very entertaining to modern eyes, that alone is enough to entertain you. But on top of that, there are killer dolls, kitsch space ship decorations and cheesy lines. Is Barbarella a good movie? Absolutely not, but it is psychedelic entertainment!
The scenes during the opening credits where Barbarella seems to float around her spaceship were filmed by having Jane Fonda lie on a huge piece of Plexiglas with a picture of the spaceship underneath her. It was filmed from above, creating the illusion that she is in zero gravity.
Picture copyrights: Paramount Home Video