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Barbarella Review

Barbarella Review

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Published by shanmason93

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Published by: shanmason93 on Oct 25, 2012
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Unit One: Cinematic SpacesBarbarella (1968)
Fig 1. Barbarella (1968)Barbarella is breath of fresh air; postured with no intentions to objectify statements,messages or meanings through cinematic space; the production instead aims merely to reflect thesocial and cultural reform of the 60
s, with its whacky characters, strange environments and sets andunderlying sexual imagery. Barbarella, played by the young sex symbol Jane Fonda undergoes an
Alice in Wanderland-like
sexual adventure to retrieve a weapon from the evil Durand Durand.
Various alien men take a keen interest in Fonda, especially when they discover her fun-lovingnature. Even when the mad Durand Durand is trying to kill her in his 'Excessive' machine she onlypurrs with delight. The harder he drives it, the greater the pinnacles of intergalactic ecstasy shereaches until the device is left a smouldering wreck.
(Haflidason, 2012).
The portrayal of sexualimagery alludes to the invention of the pill in the 60
s introducing the acceptability to have sexualintercourse for sheer pleasure for the first time. This is conveyed through the chronology of 
Barbarella’s
journey, she moves from environment to environment with a kittenish innocence whichis slowly depleted through each alien sexual encounter. Not only does Roger Vadim representchanges in sexual desires through the 60
s with the character of Barbarella he also conveys thedramatic change in relationships since the introduction of the pill. This message comes throughstrongest in dialect of Barbarella herself when describing Earth or as we know it, the past before thepill. Barbarella speaks of people having to be a perfect match or perfectly in love to have sexualintercourse just before agreeing to
make love
using the pill. This reflects the change on society thatfor the first time people did not have to have emotional values in the act sex and that for the 60
sthis process could be entirely based on the physical pleasure of the act itself.
"Barbarella" wasreleased the same year as "If . . ." and "2001: A Space Odyssey" -- when sex and language barrierswere evaporating onscreen and films that broke ground won automatic attention.
(Guthmann,
 
1996).
Just as sexual imagery was developing and becoming more acceptable to the public eye theprops also strongly sexually orientated. Featuring pieces of plastic of odd shapes and colours whichdrew attention to the breasts, see- through plastics, tight, ripped tights and PVC, the costumes firmlyopened the films sexually tensions to masochism and sadist as the viewer is introduced to peopleinflicting pain onto each other to satisfy the matmos in spiked leather studded and chainedcostumes.Fig 2. Barbarella Actress Jane FondaAlthough the film is largely positive through its active promotion towards sexual fantasy, theportrayal of Barbarella has received criticism from feminist viewers.
 
“Jane Fonda’s space
-faring Alicein Wonderland is pure ditzy ingénue stereotype
But as she takes up the cause of a bizarre Oz-likeplanet full of assorted weirdoes under the cosh of an evil, sexy dictator (Anita Pallenberg), andends up breaking the dastardly Durand-
Durand’s hilarious ‘orgasmatron’ device, it starts to playlike a charmingly sly dig at the era’s rampant sexism.”
(Geary, 2012)
The character of Barbarella isalso portrayed as incompetent. A sort of mockery to a female James Bond, Barbarella relies on herstrikingly good looks to escape her captors. The character of Barbarella appears daft and is at onepoint taken hostage by alien children.
Barbarella
explores cinematic spaces through the portrayal of women, sexual imagery, comicprops and structures which are added to enhance the comedic factors of the film whilst reflectingthe changes of sexual attitudes by reflecting the era of production.
Bibliography:
Haflidason. A,
Barbarella
(2012) http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2000/09/29/barbarella_review.shtml  (Accessed on 25/10/12)Guthmann, E. (1996)
FILM REVIEW -- A Younger, Funnier Fonda / 1968's `Barbarella' is a romp with ababe.

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