Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Cinematic Spaces Film Review: Barbarella

Barbarella (1968) was directed by Barbarella (1968) was directed by Roger Vadim; when the film was first released it was poorly received and given terrible reviews and criticisms for its flat-tone humour and simple storyline, as well as the controversial scenes and behaviour of the main character. However, over the years the film has gathered a cult following and was a bigger hit the next time it was released in 1977.

One of the more noticeable areas of Barbarella was the use of colour throughout the film, a lot of the scenes representing space or the lands in space used vivid imagery and clashing colours to create very surreal looking worlds. Instead of the common representation (an inky backdrop with twinkling stars), we are shown a formless mass of viscous goo photographically combined with sparklers and various other lighting effects.’(Pandolfi, N/A) 

Figure 1
As Pandolfi says, the film took a very interesting approach as to how they should represent and portray space; the film was widely criticised for its odd use of colours and imagery, since there was more information about space around at the time Barbarella was filmed, people were surprised by the futuristic portrayal they went with. 

Another noticeable aspect of Barbarella is the use of textures/scenery/clothing and effects were all created to make the film sci-fi and as if it is set in the distant future, but the film managed to make itself look dated by using influences of that time period (1968) such as the fur walls and flooring in Figure 2.
‘Barbarella couldn’t exist in any era but the 1960s and its delightful over-the-top qualities find an ideal expression in the ridiculous excesses of the time’ (Vaux, N/A) 

Each aspect of the film, such as the costumes or the materials used, helped to keep the film in the 1960’s due to the use of fur or trippy and drug like images through the film as shown in Figure 3. the sets are designed with gorgeously deranged excess –Barbarella’s spaceship comes with pink carpeted roofs and walls’(Scheib 1999-2012)

Figure 2
Figure 3

The film Barbarella had a unique way of portraying a futuristic space to the audience; the film used very dated materials to help give the sets a futuristic look, but this resulted in dated the film further. 

Figure 4
Figure 4 shows the Labyrinth that was explored before Barbarella moved on towards the big city which is also featured in the image; the Labyrinth is suppose to be ‘the slums’ or the outer wasteland of the city that lays further up the hill, this is where all the degenerates and strange people are sent. The Labyrinth, seemed similar to what one might imagine hell to be, where all the off cuts are placed if they're "not hole". Bodies were stuck inside the scenery, doomed to be striped of emotion, and clothes, to never move again’ (pixipui, 2010) Figure 4 shows the difference in architecture and structure for the two areas which helps to portray the difference between the rich and the poor.



Chris Pandolfi. In: www.gonewiththetwins.com [Online} At: http://gonewiththetwins.com/pages/archive/barbarella.php (Accessed on: 23/10/12)

Richard Scheib. In: http://moria.co.nz [Online] At: http://moria.co.nz/sciencefiction/barbarella.htm (Accessed on: 23/10/2012)


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