subtly sophisticated psychedelia

I think my boyfriend thought I was kidding when I sighed extravagantly after finishing Barbarella (Roger Vadim, France/Italy, 1968) and instantly proclaimed that I loved it, but I honestly did. It’s like the cinematic equivalent of a lot of the 60’s French pop songs I’ve been devouring lately—fever-pitched adolescent fantasy carefully aware that it’s being naughty without pushing things too far, and, above all, endlessly obsessed with its own self-absorption and unashamedly reveling in it.

The major appeal now is the kitschiness, of course, but voluptuous young Jane Fonda somehow manages to give the film a subtle balance, and if sometimes the wide moon eyes seem a little too calculated, her expressions in a lot of the post-coital reaction shots are simply priceless (though they certainly seem warranted after a certain angelic encounter…), and I found myself laughing at most of her corny throwaway quips if only because her comic timing is, surprise, surprise, so spot-on.

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4 thoughts on “subtly sophisticated psychedelia

    1. I’ve never seen (or attempted) Modesty, but since I’m a huge Vitti fan I’m sure I will get to it at some point. Not sure if this is exactly your thing, but it’s fun in a silly, kitschy way.

  1. Have you ever seen “Seance on a Wet Afternoon” (1964) –
    Kim Stanley, demented medium, & Richard Attenborough,
    husby, kidnap tot for promo purposes. Dir Bryan Forbes. One of
    two Stanley pix. (My god, what an actress!) She won NYFilm
    Crit Award and got Osc nom. It’s not on NF – I saw at revival
    house years ago and long to see again. It’s a scary dilly.
    I wonder who has the “rights.” based on a nove lby
    Mark McShane. (Neat idea for an SF revival house).

    1. I have, but years ago, and would like to revisit at some point. The creepy atmosphere definitely has stuck with me.

      Stanley is one of those “shoulda been” individuals who deserved a better film career–have you seen her take on a Marilyn Monroe-like actress, The Goddess? If the film itself leaves something to be desired, it’s quite the performance!

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