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Barbarella

Year: 1968
Studio: Paramount
Director: Roger Vadim
Producer: Dino Di Laurentiis
Writer: Roger Vadim/Jean-Claude Forest/Claude Brule/Terry Southern
Cast: Jane Fonda, Marcel Marceau

It's interesting to write this review after Jane Fonda has come out to act in a film again after a 15 year absence from the screen (in the universally panned Monster in Law), as it puts into context the many lives she's led, from the sex kitten protégé in Roger Vadim's shadow to the red-loving Hanoi Jane and all her incantations since.

It's in the first mould of her character she appears here, a beautiful young starlet exploited for her sex appeal amongst a bunch of liberal filmmakers when Hollywood was a hotbed of liberal sentiment. In some ways she represented the way that clique (almost totally male, despite the tolerant mores of the time) saw itself; young, beautiful, sexually free, experimental, and sticking it to The Man.

Instead it's what Hollywood's always been about; getting laid - preferably getting some of what Vadim was getting from his nubile young wife. You could almost hear the crew drooling lavisciously behind the camera.

Barbarella is a nymphette space traveller with a propensity for wearing little to nothing (for no reason at all) in a universe of the future where all aggression and war has been abolished.

Asked to travel to a remote planet and find a mysterious professor, Duran Duran, who's developed a weapon that could upset the peace of the galaxy, she meets an array of creatures and life forms both good, evil and neither in a range of settings Terry Gilliam would be like a kid in a candy shop filming in.

Form the shag carpet spaceship to the languorous strip during the opening credits, the half naked angel and the machine that tortures you with pleasure, it's a kitschy, porny delight.

You can also ingest an interesting piece of trivia during the opening credits. Apparently made before the writers union in Hollywood closed its iron grip around the politics of writer' credits, a large number of writers are credited with working on the production, whereas the union laws allows for only one (usually the final writer to work on the script) today.

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