HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Siddhartha
Three Outlaw Samurai
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Truth, The
Good Die Young, The
Old Guard, The
Gumnaam
   
 
Newest Articles
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Barbarella Rise And Shine
Year: 1968
Director: Roger Vadim
Stars: Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O'Shea, David Hemmings, Marcel Marceau, Claude Dauphin, Ugo Tognazzi
Genre: Sex, Science Fiction, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 5 votes)
Review: In the 41st Century, space girl Barbarella (Jane Fonda) is travelling the galaxy in her personal spaceship when she gets a signal from Earth. It is the President (Claude Dauphin) and he has an urgent mission for her: she will be sent to find the evil Durand Durand who has invented a positronic ray with which he intends to conquer the peaceful galaxy. Barbarella cannot understand why anyone would want to shatter the tranquility with a weapon, but the President is insistent and sends her some guns to assist. Soon she is heading through a magnetic disturbance to the last place Durand Durand was seen...

Roger Vadim and Terry Southern scripted this campy and psychedelic adaptation of Jean-Claude Forest's comic strip, along with many others, including Forest himself, who also acted as a consultant on the visuals. In an attempt to capture the comic strip's distinctive style, everything is overdesigned and impractical-looking, from Barbarella's costumes and spaceship to the city of SoGo. There is a plethora of weird sound effects and a sixties pop soundtrack is constantly playing, so naturally, all this doesn't seem tremendously futuristic nowadays, but the filmmakers' maxim seems to have been, if it looks cool, if it looks weird, then put it onscreen.

As Barbarella, Fonda strikes the right note of naivety and determination, but for such a sexy title character, the film's attitude to sex is summed up by the opening titles where she strips in zero gravity: you don't see much and it's all a big tease, really. There is also a fetishistic side to her exploits - she is frequently being trapped and tortured, whether by Anita Pallenberg's evil queen or Milo O'Shea's pleasure machine. Therefore our heroine conveys the sexual tension as a wholesome antidote to the more depraved denizens of The City of Night that she ends up exploring, exhibiting two sides to sexuality, the dark and the light, that the film cannot make up its mind about which it would like better.

And some of this is actually quite nasty, see an early scene which must have given many viewers their strongest look at sadomasochistic kinkiness yet when Babs is captured by wicked children and has flesh-eating dolls set upon her, ripping her clothes and giving her some painful nips (so to speak). Then at the other end of the film, there's the callous way characters are killed off for the finale, no matter how sympathetic they have been. How you respond to this is all a matter of taste, I suppose, but the attitude of going all out in an of its time manner has cemented its cult status, even if Fonda struggled in real life with how to react to have been a big part of something this gaudily perverse. Certainly it was used against her when she took up social activism as she and Vadim drifted apart, to undercut her serious messages.

But there could have been more jokes, too, or at least some better oneliners as the arch, faux-innocent dialogue Barbarella gets to speak raises more knowing smiles than outright laughs ("This is much too poetic a way to die!" she exclaims as killer budgies cover her, for example). That said, David Hemmings' bumbling freedom fighter is quite funny (intent on trying the sex substitute pills instead of actual carnal knowledge of Babs - which at least is always consensual) and hints at the stronger comedic path Vadim could have taken, as otherwise he's more intent on seeing how much he could get away with under the guise of what is actually some pretty queasy fun. Since Barbarella was made, we haven't seen much in the way of deliberately kitsch science fiction, which is kind of a shame, even if it's a difficult balance to attain without being too silly for words, something this film gets just about right, sustaining that mood with some impressive dedication, be it your cup of tea or not. Some catchy, bright music by Bob Crewe and Charles Fox scores the overwhelming chintz perfectly.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 15950 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Roger Vadim  (1928 - 2000)

French writer-director who had a habit of romancing his leading ladies. And God Created Woman, his debut, created a sensation and made a superstar of Brigitte Bardot. His other films include Blood and Roses, Barbarella (featuring then-wife Jane Fonda), the first part of Spirits of the Dead, the Hollywood excursion Pretty Maids All in a Row and Night Games.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: