Today's edition of Hit Me with Your Best Shot, the weekly blogiverse featured hosted by The Film Experience, takes us running, screaming, into the mouth of out-and-out schlock; though tarring 1968's Barbarella, directed by art-smut specialist Roger Vadim and produced by out-of-control Italian wizard and madman Dino De Laurentiis as mere "shlock" makes it sound like something small and normal and comprehensibly bad, none of which is accurate. Barbarella is a mad and deranged example of heterosexual camp, parodying sci-fi, sex, women, spectacular cinema, and narrative logic in a pulp-informed romp through wildly over-designed and under-financed otherworldly locations, and I love it all out of proportion to anything that it can plausibly be said to do "right".
Trying to scrounge up one single image that encapsulates the whole experience of a movie with this much pop-art kitschiness has been, I've found, next to impossible, especially since taste and a desire to keep out of the NSFW thickets forbids me from selecting the most obvious possible choice, a shot from Jane Fonda's film-opening "zero gravity" striptease (which, like all of the sex in this movie - and there's so much sex - tries to marry eroticism with camp, and doesn't entirely know how to make that happen). Though certainly, that striptease is a real doozy.
Still, it would be a terrible mistake to avoid sex altogether, in considering a movie that is so enthusiastically about sex, and thus I arrived, after great deliberation, here:
Though I did very nearly go with a much less appreciative take on the film (couldn't pull the trigger: even in snark, I'm too fond of the movie), and this runner-up shot:
P.S. We are not done discussing Barbarella on this blog, not by any means. More coming soon...