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Blindspot: The Cult of 2013: Barbarella

barbarella When I was compiling my list of cult films for this year's blindspot series, my way of thinking was โ€œthe weirder, the better.โ€  That said, I've been purposely holding off on some of the more unusual films for the second half of the line-up.  As such, it is only appropriate that my next film to be featured is this 1968 campy sci-fi film, based on the French comic book of the same name.  stars as the titular character, who travels to a distant planet in search of a lost Earth scientist by the name of Durand Durand, as well as save the people from The Great Tyrant.  Along the way, Barbarella encounters evil children with vampire dolls, a hunky angel named Pygar, and a whole lot of sexual innuendo. The tone for Barbarella is established within the opening minutes of the film, which consists of Barbarella doing a zero gravity strip tease during the opening credits.  Going into the film, I was expecting quite a bit of campy sexual content and the film definitely delivers in that regard.  Quite possibly the most outrageous scene in the film comes when Barbarella is tortured by a literal sex organ, which definitely needs to be seen to be believed.  It also becomes a bit of a running joke in the film that Barbarella ends up sleeping with every male character she comes across, including a very odd moment of having sex by touching hands. Sexual content aside, Barbarella in general is a very weird film.  There are so many odd visuals early on, ranging from a sled pulled by a giant stingray to evil dolls biting away at Barbarella, I was just going with the flow by the time the film got to the film's main love interest, who just happened to be a shirtless blonde man with angel wings.  I'm certain that Barbarella likely set the stage for future campy sci-fi films, such as 1974's Zardoz and 1980's Flash Gordon. When it comes down to it, Barbarella doesn't really have all that much of a story.  In fact, the plot of the film is more or less just a way for Barbarella to move from one sexcapade to another.  This is probably best exemplified by the final shot of the film, and a certain line by Pygar the Angel, which will likely result in facepalms by any feminists watching the film (and believe me, this is not a feminist-friendly film). I guess I will conclude by saying that Barbarella is very much a product of the late-60s time period it was made in and I wouldn't be surprised if people watched the film on acid trips.  All and all, this film sits firmly in the โ€œso bad, it's goodโ€ category of films, though I'd probably won't be rushing into a rewatch. 6 | WATCHABLE

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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