Cleansing the lens of cinematic perception... until all the layers are scrubbed off and the screen is a white glaring rectangle

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Dance of Tripper Mimsy: RIOT ON SUNSET STRIP (1967)

Based on true events! The AIP/MGM police/hippie hybrid movie RIOT ON SUNSET STRIP (1967) reminds us that back LA's rock venue-packed Sunset Strip was once so clogged with amok youth that the lawmakers had to enforce a 10 PM curfew for everyone under 18. The kids took to the streets in protest, or were already there. Sonny, Cher, Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda attended to show their solidarity. Fonda got handcuffed! What a world.

Today, those of us who don't live in LA probably just hear the words Sunset Strip and prepare for yet another old rocker to start in about seeing the Doors at the Whiskey a Go Go back in whenever or how the man made them change the name to 'the Whisk' or how they razed Pandora's Box--the main all-ages (non-alcoholic) venue--to the ground. Or how Buffalo Springfield's inescapable "For What it's Worth" was written about the protests. But I'll just say that you can draw a dotted line down the road of AIP counterculture classics, from the Strip to The Trip and then Wild in the Streets, the year after that it's films like the (AIP-influenced) Easy Rider. And then Cult of the Damned, and Manson! It's all connected like a dashed highway line...going straight to hell! For fans of the scene, of LSD and of the Doors and Jack Nicholson, then, come and dig the Strip - and see the dance that lit the flame, the Helen of Hippie film Troy, the wig that launched a thousand swigs, Mimsy Farmer!

Hanging around at Pandora's Box, clearly starting trouble
Released an astonishingly short four months after the riots happened, Riot on Sunset Strip alternates between the police and the kids camps. The kid camp revolves around a sweet, innocent girl named Andi (Mimsy Farmer) from a broken home (she lives alone with her alcoholic mom - below) who starts out as a nice kid just digging bands with her girlfriend Liz-Ann (Laurie Mock) and their two nameless boyfriends. Her slow slide begins when she starts smoking, gradually dressing sexier, craving some kind of parental structure but just getting mom's incoherent babbling (and dad nowhere to be found). just hanging out digging bands at Pandora's Box, but getting busted for being young, but still trying to be good--she ends up dosed on acid, and dancing! Come on, Liz-Ann says, "it's a freak-out!" Andi says she's never done acid.  "Come on, Alice in Wonderland," says Liz-Ann: "You haven't lived!"

As we follow her descent we also bounce back and forth to the precinct struggles of her absentee father (Aldo Ray) a police captain in charge of the youth problem to be fair to both sides of the argument. He doesn't want his men to start cracking heads, nor does he want the local business owners to form their own vigilante task force. In trying to be fair to both kids and adults, he pleases neither; that doesn't bother him though, when gives interviews for local TV, preaches a modicum of tolerance: "These are your sons and daughters!" It's a fair point. But Aldo, what about your daughter?

above -Mom, in bed with her demons; Andi - smoking
(there was no age restriction on it then and damned if it doesn't make her look cool)
Andi, tired of being harassed by the cops, forced to call her teacher to pick her up from the police station rather than her drunk mother, acquiesces to the freak-out. But once there--even though she's vibing with the cute older boy who's got the sugar cubes, she still just says no - preferring to hang around the invaded home like a wet dishrag... which can be very frustrating as a rocket-boosted hormonal and very high male out to score. She seems--in your drugs-and-testosterone-addled brain, like she's 'asking' for something: she wont leave the "happening" alone, yet she will not make the scene. If she will not make the scene, then the scene, with its tendrils of long hair, and its medallion beads clattering like a clacking Cabeza de Lobo beach cub billion beak peck cat castanet jelly donut death racket--will make her. 

Her old man, will he come rolling home?

Maybe none of this would need to happen, oh if he only would, but he's too busy lecturing other parents for not rolling half as good as he would were he not busy lecturing.

But then, for all their woe, whatever that is, we'd miss one key moment worth the whole damned film: Mimsy Farmer's sublime acid dance freak-out, one of the great peak pivotal moments in 60s LSD cinema! Since it's only 1967, and the AIP countercultural LSD movie cycle is just getting rolling (if you'll forgive an anachronistic colloquialism), one could consider Farmer's dance the opening act in the huge paisley cavalcade to come, the way exotic dancers perform flame rituals in Arabian shiek's tents prior to taking tea with a bronze-dripping Robert Taylor. Setting the mood and opening the gates, Farmer's dance shows how one might take a hackneyed non-relevant 'breather' as Laura Mulvey would call it (woman as a kind of narrative door-stop, preventing the flow of linear time to allow for a kind of desire/possessive gazing on the part of the viewer) and reverse the flow so her madness seems to possess us by contrast - her constant oscillating from one extreme emotion to the other forcing us to be afraid of her, for her, with her, and without her all in quick cycling succession. it's still a milestone in trippy dancing few have equaled since (more sophisticated nuanced actresses just come off as ridiculous or overly maudlin, worse just come off as vapid)

 Overall, Riot is rather pedestrianly directed by (59 year-old) Arthur Dreifuss, but--though he's clearly a generic square, old Arthur wisely lets this one moment land, with a keen eye for how dancing on acid feels in the moment (had he done any?). The vaguely mystical-tribal sun wall sculpture on the wall behind her evokes a subliminal temple backdrop, the pink lighting soaks into her golden skin and her form-fitting pink and army green dress making her at times seem to appear and disappear. She wears what seems like three identical wigs, all slowly growing, widening in a halo gyre, gradually getting wilder and more libidinal-schizo as she slinks to the ground and luxuriates cat-ready against a corner. She notices her arms and hands as if the first time, alive to the joy of movement, reacting to any stimulus with a second-by-second switch--from revulsion to agog fascination to cautious luxuriance.

Andi sees her hands for the first time
Dreifuss captures it all, beginning to end, with just a hint of slow motion here and there, perfectly matched to the music even so, as if she's slipping in and out of linear time, floating in the tehrer somewhere between the vampire cult converts floating around in 1972's Deathmaster and the fairies in 1935's Midsummer Night's Dream.

If you've ever felt those kind of things while slinking around a living room in a surrendered-to joy of movement, then you may feel as I do while watching--i.e. my palms start to sweat and I feel a metallic tang on my tongue, as if in anticipation of the inevitable 'kicking in' of the drug one's taken. It's like getting all the sensations of going up a very steep incline on a roller-coaster, up and up and up - even though you're just sitting there on the beanbag chair, rolling joints in a Pink Floyd gatefold, watching as the blood rushing in your hands slowly starts to redden and glow just below the skin, like a latticework spider web, and they feel like they're trembling but they're actually steady as rocks.

But of course, the slimy lad who slipped it into her 'diet drink' has been keeping an eye on all this, waiting for the right time to slink up and make a move, bringing her upstairs with all the finesse of Sidney Berger in Carnival of SoulsIt's clearly his and his buddy's MO to dose young girls and take advantage, en masse, once the girl is too zonked to complain or resist. In other words, loathsome date rape behavior wasn't solely the proclivity of frat boys spiking the grain alcohol punch with 'ludes and then all sticking to beer. We didn't quite imagine it was as vile as it was- as a freshman feeling just lucky to be in there and drinking for free and underage I never imagined the vile things going on upstairs when girls got too drunk off the punch to resist. It was just too odious and vile to imagine. "Date rape" wasn't a term yet. It only got started around my senior year -- too late for a good half the girls I used to drink and trip with.

Alas, I hope this doesn't turn off Andi to the wonders of alcohol, weed, and psychedelics. At MGM drugs may be a cry for help, or a way to dilute resistance, but at AIP they're a way forward! They're enlightenment, and--if you go too far--madness. But at least they're a trip! It's not for everyone, but those of us not cut out for the two kid garage and white picket doorbells, they're a rocket to the next option.

Maybe it won't. Andi doesn't seem to be too traumatized afterwards. We never hear her complain or resist. We only learn she had 'entertained' five of them when she tells it to her father, who--of course--walks in on her in the bed, now totally 'down' from her trip, apparently. Telling him the details is, in a way, it's her ultimate fuck you, meant to drive him swinging pathetically into the night. It's the real fantasy moment in the film, the kind of thing a kid might imagine getting her never-around dad to witness, especially if he considered himself such a paragon of the law.

That kind of familial crisis is what lets you know that, though it was released by AIP (and has all the AIP earmarks on the surface), Riot is an MGM product. For AIP, family is broken, useless, but MGM can't let the 'father' go. Even when delving into lurid subject matter the studio tends to employ a kind of roundhouse morality uppercut that dates back to their seemingly transgressive (secretly moralistic) pre-code films like 1931'a A Free Soul (left), wherein booze, premarital sex, and drugs aren't lines in the sand against the previous generation's antiquated norms, they're just the symptom of parent-daughter estrangement due to parental addiction and/or absenteeism. The dad must fix his character, and the daughter will re-merge into the patriarchal order with pleasure. In Soul, Shearer uses Gable for sex and thrills, but secretly hungers for the safe, flaccid decency of Leslie Howard and the long nights nursemaiding daddy in and out of alcoholic sanitariums. In Sunset, the dad has to stop worrying about the other kids, kids as abstract, and realize his own kid needs him, i.e. up close, with feelings and real
connection and that drugs and sex are her cry for help. We're lured in by the sex and drugs then WHAM! the family. Dirty tricks, MGM!

Dreifuss went from Riot to another AIP drug movie after this: The Love-Ins (above) next, a tale that functions as a Tim Leary roman-a-clef about a disillusioned college professor  who drops out and becomes a cash-minded LSD guru. I haven't seen it myself, but the insightful Chuck Esola notes the incorrect way acid use is depicted: "not only are the hippies high on it all the time but one hit and the characters in the film are either flailing about wildly on the lawn, jumping out of windows or becoming convinced that they've become Alice in Wonderland (I'm honestly not sure which is worse)." Hey, in the words of Bruce Dern's guide in The Trip, you're really into some beautiful things here, man.

As for Mimsy, she would soon escape to Italy where she was to specialize as totally cracked giallo heroines, as in Dario Argento's Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), Armando Crispino's Autopsy (1975), and Francesco Barilli's Portrait of a Lady in Black (1974). Her character in these films was often the same, as if she became so splintered by her LSD/rape primal moment in Riot she splintered into shards that all fell into different giallo movies. Her characters all had the same short blonde hair, exhibiting the violent revulsion/attraction approach to sex, repressed lesbian desire, and habit of talking through clenched teeth when enraged. Walking the razor line between being a totally free spirit engaging in sex and drugs as self expression, she turned on a German math student to hard drugs and group sex a mere two years after Strip in Barbet Schroder's More (above), which has a great Pink Floyd soundtrack if nothing else).

Busted - for being teenagers
As for the curfew riots are forgotten today but the music they inspired--and that was heard on the Strip at the time--endures. Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" was written about them (and now it's inescapable) and The Byrds, The Seeds, Love, The Chambers Brothers, and The Doors are all classic rock radio staples and were bands in residence on the Strip. None of them either appear or are heard in the film. Instead, we get the garage rock of the Standells (they sing theme song, noting that "even parents are beginning to scare" over their crazy children and the cops) and the Chocolate Watchband rips some raucous, royalty-free standard blues. But, like the AIP movies it stands with (Psych-Out, and The Tripfor example), the good bands are offset with a lot of dated paisley drippiness courtesy dull treacly sludge by bands like The Mugwumps and The Sidewalk Sounds, (who coo: "I want to make the music pretty / for me") not to mention a lot of generic library flute rock instrumentals. When you think of the great stuff being played at the time (or the great songs on the Cynthia Weil/Barry Mann songs on the similar AIP gems Wild in the Streets and Angel Angel, Down We Go), it's kind of a drag, like seeing a fictional movie made about Altamont and just hearing the Flying Burrito Brothers. 

Pandora's Box was a real club (above), at the center of the riots as it was
being demolished by the establishment for its role as a lightning rod in the disruption.

Still, its great. Newly arrived on Amazon Prime and looking good (these screenshots are all from it), 


- HaPPy TRails! 

Maybe it was because I saw it the morning after getting back from a mostly-overcast vacation in St. Maarten but I was in just the right mood for Riot. And well, the crazy psychedelic dance of Mimsy is really a showstopper. I made the collage above myself, though there's nothing like it in the film. There should be, for 'trails' in tripping are a sign of transcending space/time and perhaps the origin for the multi-armed effect of Hindi gods and goddesses. 

And in a way it's too bad. Neither Corman nor anyone at AIP ever figured out how to do "trails" correctly (they're aren't any in Gilliam's Fear and Loathing either, though at least he gets some good subliminal mileage out of the hotel carpeting). in an effort to capture the true nature of acid hallucinations (they don't come out of nowhere, they build up through paredolia and just seeing the world more clearly and without the usual structuralist blinders.

Actually, I saw a great Mimsy movie on Prime last night that did some decent psychedelic acid trails (or DXM if you want to be fancy), Autopsy (1975)! It wasn't acid but tiredness or insanity or something - but here you GO-go-o-go-go:

Tripper Mimsy finds the right dosage, at last...

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Psychedelisexploitation of the Virgin-Whore: BARBARELLA

Dino Di Laurentiis' 1968 sexy sci-fi opus Barbarella probably comes closer than most other mainstream films trying to tap into (as well as satirize) the sense of psychedelic 'free love' that proliferated through its (pre-Manson, but only just) moment, carrying a utopian ideal for a very sexy European future, where the Earth is united and groovy and people greet each other with an open palm and the word "love." Such naïveté utopique and Babylonian orgone gluttony may offend our age's born-again prudishness, but it behooves us to remember that--until the little beaks and jaws of a million disillusionments ravaged her--the spirit of psychedelically-enhanced free love was
so powerful we could still feel its effects as far ahead as the 80s and can at least read about today, like a zillion years later. But was it all just a memory, preset to eat itself? You could call it dated, but how far back to go how far forward? You could go back 3,500 odd years to Shamhat of the Temple of Ishtar, "one of the priestesses who give their bodies to any man in honor of the goddess" (1) who is sent into the woods seduce the hairy pre-Flood Bigfoot-style Enkidu in the Sumerian saga of Gilgamesh or 2,100 years into the future, for a hippie version of the same character, an Earth ambassador of love and sexual manipulation, played with perfect wide-eyed guilelessness by Jane Fonda. Either way, as long as we're not stuck in this drag of a now, where all sex is joyless smash cut thrusting in the now utterly played out HBO doggy style.
Conceived by source writer Jean-Claude Forest, director Roger Vadim, and co-writer Terry Southern, even sex in Barbarella comes with its caveats: People on Earth only make love with exaltation transference pills "for one minute or until full rapport is achieved." And even then only if their "psychocardiagrams are in perfect confluence." They regard weapons as strictly ancient history: all conflicts are now resolved with sex and love. Earth's representative in sexual potency, its ambassador for love's forgiving, aligning, transformative power in the galaxy, Barbarella however, is a virgin in the 'real' physical realm. She tells her first would-be lover, a Enkidu-style hirsute stude --'the Catchman of the Ice and Forests of Weir" (Uggo Tozzi) -- "(physical sex) was proven to be distracting and a danger to maximum efficiency." Her eyes widening just a little bit with fear she adds "besides it was pointless to continue if better means of ego support and self esteem were made available!

Though usually letter perfect, Fonda occasionally lapses into a vaguely scolding put-on of innocence that hints at her future North Vietnam exploits, as when asking the transmitted image of the  President of Earth and "rotating president of the sun system" (Claude Dauphin wearing a black boa and talking at her naked breasts, maybe not intentionally) after he teleports her some weaponry for her mission: "A weapon? What would anyone want with a weapon? The galaxy has been pacified for centuries!" Noting that the Tau Ceti system might "still be living in a state of erotic irresponsibility" it's pretty clear that--for Vadim, for the French, and certainly for ex-pats Fonda and Terry Southern, they're lobbing digs at the mainstream bourgeois Americans. And man, what's so loving about that?

Hey, maybe we forgot, but a lot of us then, and in places now, have experienced the love that has no opposite, the love that goes beyond duality. The love so powerful that even its usually-assigned opposite, hate, is revealed as merely projected self-criticism --hardly the opposite of such an expansive universal force. This pure unrestrained love can embrace even hate and fear, even violence can be forgiven and forgotten at the drop of a hat; an angel can refrain from judging his own tormentors. The only opposite to that force is need, want, hunger, lack, the sort of thing that makes men into monsters.

We see it in Jesus Christ Superstar, we see it in Mother! and we see it in Bunuel's Viridiana and in Antonioni's Red Desert, and we even see it here: a flood of hungry mouths descending on the free love tree, stripping her trunk past its stocking bark so that the once endlessly opening lotuses no longer bloom as their roots are torn away and boiled to feed the billions of starving little mouths for a day, rather than the thousands of enlightened souls forever. This is the same thing that swamped Jesus' life raft: the ceaseless pawing and snapping in such numbers as to reduce any blazing fiery Chris to a pecked-blind Prometheus in a piranha pariah minute. It's the ultimate last laugh of the establishment - finally drowning the spirit of universal love in so much life that even Jesus would cry for a plague, or a war, to thin the herd.

But we can still dream...

Maybe to understand it, you have to have done powerful psychedelics while young enough to handle the accelerated heart rate and in a scene full of supportive friends, all cool and non-creepy and on the same page. Did you feel the tongs of a glorious expansion of the parameters of self so that "you" were no longer just 'your' body, but the entirety of the scene and felt your energy widen from a trickle to a flood? You belonged at long last - to the world! People changed around you. Frowns turned upside down with a simple wave. You were a positive charge changing the current of the world!

Note subliminal fairy wings
And as the figurehead for this kind of power: there arose from within your ranks a beautiful young American woman with intelligence and a high tolerance for pain and pleasure totally divorced from her innocence (Or was it you, Beth?). One smile from this cute girl and a clan would form around her like a cause. There'd ne no need to 'possess' her, as there's no more possession, or objectification, lust, and dirty secrets, around her. All is exposed, absorbed and forgiven. Make love or do not - it is all one, only the urge to own is a sign of ego insecurity and all that is behind you now. Evil and self-centeredness disappears in the face of this bright and shining collective power,  like a dark cloud quickly evaporating in the high desert afternoon. This is why anyone with love in his heart for his opponent cannot be defeated.

Or why cults are so hard to escape.

Hence it makes sense for the President of Earth (Claude Dauphin) to send an unarmed sexually 'woke' being like Barbarella to a far-off planet in the Tau Ceti constellation, where war still exists, and sex is done the old-fashioned way, i.e. not through pills. Her main strategy is to throw herself into harm's way, and be rescued and then use sex to reward her rescuer which --as luck would have it --tends to satisfy her as well. Luckily (or is it karma?) the older, pot-bellied, jowly, grey haired old dudes like Professor Ping (Marcel Marceau) and the president may lick their lips from afar, but they don't drag her down with a lot of flaccid denial of essence (they're too far away). The main villain, Durand Durand prefers the arms' length of his orgasmatron, sparing us the unsightly prospect of his garishly made-up porcine face sweating greasepaint astride her while "Down Down Down! (Drag me Down)" rocks the soundtrack. Thus, her good karma for being so hot and righteous ensures its own continuation through a steady progression of lucky good turns (lovers are all young or at least manly, or at least strangely sexy), and isn't that in the end why karma never fails?

Fonda's fresh-faced innocence catches the eye of this child of Sogo. 
A futuristic hippie in the purist form--Barbarella is the product not merely of male fantasy --though she is surely that--but the 'enlightened' male fantasy, the fantasy of the post-smoking, acid-dropping idealist who has the right idea even if he's still lost in his own woods, so to speak. Even as it makes sure to satirize itself, Vadim's film can't help believing in its message - that love is more effective than evil or violence, and that America's ingrained Puritan repression has ensured its cutest sex kittens maintain a healthy naive innocence that a college stint at La Sorbonne and an affair with a Galouise-reeking existentialist named Michel can't ever-fully tarnish or disillusion. An American girl full of peace and love, Fonda's Barbarella is almost invincible in a decadent European environment (i.e. Tau Ceti standing in for disillusioned post-war Europe [2]). Since so many men will be likely to help her, her beauty like a rallying standard for heterosexual union (delineated her tiresome homophobic refusal of Anita Pallenberg), this is much the way Flash Gordon and Dale Arden affected Mongo, enacting a fatalistic round robin with Ming and his daughter Aura by dipping her foreign All-American innocence into the decadent lurid jet set stew of foreign (heterosexual decadence only) stereotype (see: Tigron and Taboo).

Thanks to her almost Cary Grant-like gift for deadpan physical comedy, Fonda never seems remotely passive or disinterested as she regularly uses nonviolent means to her ends. Compared to the much dimmer Ewa Aulin in the similar comic book big budget sex fantasy Terry Southern shaggy dog tale Candy (also 1968) Fonda never seems out of control; nothing sexual happens before she’s consented. It’s her enjoyment – ‘lalalala’-ing in post-coital distraction afterwards, that conversely illustrates her effectiveness as an agent. She’s not ashamed about using sex in her work, first because it’s no big deal (like a hug or handshake), but then because she finds she likes it, and on her planet its removal (due to it being a “distraction from maximum efficiency”) for over 300 years has disassociated it with any latent Christian shame and guilt (or presumably, reproductive or STD consequence).

Even Barbarella's rival/shadow, ruling through fear and pain, the Black Queen (Anita Pallenberg, above, voice dubbed by Joan Greenwood) AKA the Great Tyrant, can't resist her charms. With a Sadean mixture of sadistic voluptuary delight, she calls Barbarella "pretty... pretty..." like a kitten. But she must continually do evil to satisfy the Matmos, a magnetically disturbing sentient liquid intelligence bubbling below her city, supplying it with light, warmth and energy, while feeding on negatively charged evil deeds and thoughts, corrupting those on its surface and turning the whole place into one giant wicked orgy of sadomasochism and drugged-out excess in order to keep itself sated. Just walking around above its pulsing current, Barbarella can feel the heady effects, and it can feel her incorruptible innocence the way we might feel a mild electric shock.

Viddy the Matmos!
Ever-bubbling below their feet, its liquid hypnotic light show effects playing on modular TV screens and projections in amidst the posed revelers, the Matmos turns the whole place into a Gomorrah you might imagine while staring deep into a lava lamp, mind reeling with a swerve of the LSD experience into what Stanislav Grof called the third stage of rebirth: the grotesquely elaborate sadomasochistic hell imagery (1) of a bad trip, a sudden total recall of the trauma of one's exit from the constricting birth canal into the hell of the doctor's glaring light and harsh spank. Long suppressed by the even the unconscious mind, this remembrance of this moment of total hell needs a fast coping mechanism. Developing a kind of off-the-cuff masochistic streak becomes a do-or-die necessity: revel in the madness or be rent to shreds by its demonic claws. Barbarella alone finds the third way -- to accept it and not judge it, to embrace the burning blade and be neither cut nor burnt. Hers is a kind of coal-walking purity of essence (POE), the kind that sashays right through the rending claws of those paradise-guarding demons. Like the angel Pygar (John Phillip Law) she holds no grudges. When she finds he has rescued the evil queen after she blinded and exiled him in the past, Pygar carries her to the safety of Barbarella's ship. "An angel has no memory" ends up being the film's last line but it might better be "an angel forgives all trespasses against it."

But that would be too Christian.


As opposed to the lurid visions of Bosch or Barker, the orgy envisioned by Vadim proves pretty nonthreatening, except in a rough trade performative sort of way, conjuring a kind of very-60s heterosexual-centric Warhol Factory-meets-Rome art gallery happening full of ennui-befogged jet set revelers, sprawled on divans and swings around brilliantly molded epoxy resin walls, floors, and round pulsing screens, turning the whole 'street' into a hookah bar/after hours club/ airport terminal, where the businesses seem to include either drinks, prostitution, or mugging. As usual Vadim doesn't really know how to move his camera through such tableaux with any urgency, but the art is still there. Now that we can savor the full breadth of the compositions on the HD color-restored widescreen, there's enough neat shit to look at that the dramatic lethargy doesn't irritate.


Barbarella's ravenous sexual appetite is awakened into a new dimension by her first experiences of physical love, her pre-set sexual openness is such that she's already disappointed (after mating with both the Angel and the furry Catchman) when David Hemmings (in high demand since Blow-Up) as the rebel leader wants to use the pills (he's been saving them for five years waiting for a stray Earth woman who knows how to use them). Shortly thereafter she's attached to Durand Durand's orgasm piano machine, and what could have been a great moment - his outraged cry of "shame!" on her after she breaks the machine due to her yawning propensity is undone by his dreadful make-up, this weird need of some Italian make-up artists to do up older character actors as garishly as if they were on stage and supposed to look tan to the back row. It's too bad, as Milo O'Shea really sells his insanity with wild eyes and mellifluent voice.


Maybe the single most influential work of the counterculture, as far as high art and especially European 'art' films go - Antonioni's BLOW-UP can't be overestimated in terms of its effect on art cinema and 'beautiful people'-approved films. It became a kind of Kubrickian monolith milestone of high fashion post-modern influence. Vadim's Barbarella therefore resembles Antonioni's less-successful follow-up, Zabriskie Point (1970) more than anything else. Touching on an array of similar concerns and reflected points about the burgeoning youth movement, drugs, changes in sexual mores, and anxieties about the future --what the Point really proved was that Antonioni was unable to be 'hip' two times in a row, though neither could anyone else, it seemed (not even Dennis Hopper). For once he'd made a milestone, Antonioni was as influenced by it as anyone else, making his next work seem like either a copy or a failure. What he did was take a page from Godard and just film the young people being political - and if his intellectual eye found a place to cough "bullshit!" under his breath within the image, so be it.

Vadim's Barbarella covers a similar older straight-male-intellectual base (the only gay voice we hear in Barbarella is the lisping male equivalent of "Siri" or "Alexa" that guides Barbarella's weird neckless, three-balloon protuberance / mandolin space ship): the amok savage children running loose in the wastelands; the languorous orgy; the pretty boy angel/pilot spurred to eclipse a social order that has already, in a sense, exiled him; the young beautiful sexually willing female agent of a remote older male lover, sent into the zone alone on some secret mission; the climactic explosion signifying the Blow-Up of the old order. All that Barbarella is missing is a killer score. Zabriski gets great use out of Pink Floyd and a Jerry Garcia guitar solo. Barbarella uses goofy faux-John Sebastian vocals and obvious, spy movie lounge music. One wants to shake his lapels. "Roger! Something's happening here! And it's not this." Even dated by 1965 standards, let alone 68. There are some nice electric guitar moments, weird electronic string echo-drenches while a few of the wilder light shows are going on, but not enough. The best thing it's got going on is a relentlessly funky bongo beat and some electric bass evoking Nelson Riddle.

But otherwise, so much in common with Zabriskie Point that these bases must have seemed to weigh on the unconscious of the place and time. So let's examine them - all seem to swim up from what I'd imagine as the older establishment expressing its anxieties about the counter-culture while being determined to stay on top of it - even as it was like a powder keg with no keg to define it. They--the older artists--wanted the job of defining it, of being its grand spokesman, or summing up its issues. While Antonioni nailed it in 1966, there was no specific 'it' to nail yet, so he could make an 'it' as well as anyone. By 1970 though, "it" was too big (with a sign that said: you must be "this" young to ride). As we see with the first order, the young and hip of a year ago are the old and in the way of tomorrow. (5)

1. Wild Children: With young people in the late-60s so free, so 'turned-on' and open, there was worry amongst the older generation about their coming grandchildren. After growing up in communes, allowed to skip school, inhaling secondhand reefer smoke, mutated by broken DNA from mom's LSD use, would these kids go to actual public school and learn boring math? Or would they run amok in wild child gangs until they're caught and brought to Sogo to indulge in perverse passions? In Zabriskie Point they throw a rock through the diner window; Daria Halprin tries to relate to them but they just paw at her skirt and sneer.

2. The Languorous Orgy: Imagined often by non-participants or experienced only while zonked on tranquilizers, the late night orgy became a happening - but only as long as it wasn't swamped by horny dudes ganging up on zonked virgin chicks (as in Riot on Sunset Strip), or bikers trashing the place.  The desert hook-up in Zabriskie seems to mutate out into a dozen other couples, horsing around, play wrestling and being otherwise in the moment and young and loose with Jerry Garcia lays out a nice relaxing solo, but must a scratchy affair itchy affair with so much dust and sand floating around. In Barbarella, physical contact and loose playful exploration of one another's touch -this seemed a new and rare experience to the older generation who had maybe not experienced it fantasized about its transformative effect coupled to the horror of the collapsing barriers of self (the equivalent today of hearing about 'bracelet' parties on Fox)--seemed surely abuzz in decadence, with tortures and glazed joyless faces of the stoned participants.

Those who experienced one or witnessed one knew the deadening effect it can have. There's no joy in it after awhile, only pain when its over or broken off from, like getting so used to a hot tub you don't feel it at all, only a terrible aching chill when you step out of it into the dry air. Stay in it long enough and you merge into the furniture, the walls (like the exiles in the Sogo Maze), and no one even notices you until suddenly you stir to get up and move positions and people freak out. Dude, you're still here? Especially if you're the newly sober roommate of the guy throwing the party, who pops out of his door at 4AM to pee, and trips over entwined bodies, as I was circa 1998.

Too is the eerie similarity between all the languid people turning into rocks in the labyrinth and the people cohering out of the desert for an orgy, and the louche inhabitants of Sogo.

3. The Fallen Pilot / Angel: The equivalent of the hanged man who, once removed from his cross on the cornfield row, becomes a crow (as he was long ago) rather than a scarecrow. The Alice/Dorothy female central character has a love affair with this one, perhaps short of length, for he seems above and beyond the current scene. At home in no zone; his beauty is like an Apollonian ideal that can't quite incorporate in the modern Gomorrah of the age and so is sacrificed, crucified, blinded. "An angel doesn't make love, an angel is love," Pygar tells the evil queen who's trying to shag him. "Then you're a dead duck," she snaps back. This little bit of hippie phrase-bending didn't stop Barbarella from shagging him, so why does the Tyrant let it put her off her groove?

4. The cops / guards: The old vestige of the evil (demonized) social order. In Zabriskie Point, Antonioni gives us a cop in the desert who comes to Daira with concern (she's wondering alone in the desert with no shoes) but she treats him like he's a Nazi. Some universal love that is! In Barbarella the guilt is assuaged by having the suits of the guards be empty shells. In Zabriskie they fill the jail to overflowing with demonstrators, but then again what else are they going to do? Topple from their Martian machines at the first sign of a cold? Without the cops, the movements would collapse, like a team falling backwards during tug-of-war if the opposing side suddenly lets go.

5. The Oppressed: The inhabitants of the maze are older people, grown mossy and unhip, gradually growing into the rocks, kept alive only by expensive lotuses (it 'amuses' the Great Tyrant to lay out such a ridiculous expense). In Zabriksie they are the locked-up students, the squares stuck in their 9-5 scenes, and the besieged desert community diners, slowly falling into their beers at the Rumpus Room. Antonioni seems to be trying to come to terms with his own obsolescence but is he just admitting that one can only be shallow and naive once, and no amount of acid can make you forget your hard-won wisdom?

6. The Revolution!  Doomed to fail. On both sides. On both sides. Only the Matmos, and the virgin-whore, survive.

6. The employer patriarch: An older but still virile relic of the old guard. Claude Dauphin on the screen in the opening of Barbarella - he gives her her mission and looks forward to enjoying her sexually sometime in the future; in Zabriskie, Rod Taylor is Daria's employer- possible lover--a virile new breed of capitalist manly men.

7. A climactic apocalypse - it of course never occurs to Barbarella that her free love mantra has kept her and the Black Queen all nice and dry while utterly laying waste to the entire city of Sogo and getting nearly everyone on the planet wiped out in a catastrophic flood / disintegration beam combination. That's America abroad, via Vadim's portrait of his American wife and her overly serious stance on politics, inciting a rebellion and then leaving when it fails and everyone on either side lies dead. Maybe in Italian director Antonioni's Zabriskie America is still intact, the Roy Orbison song after the slow-mo explosion climax Floyd jam lets us know the only casualties here are the young, blinded by their own self-righteous hotness; that's the European intellectual abroad in the American Southwest, as heavy as Baudrillard at a roadside attraction.

8. Don't let our Wasted Youth Go to... more wasted? - The young are beautiful, but their playfulness is so heavy-handed, scripted and flat vs. say the in-the-moment nowness of a document like French auteur Agnes Varda's Lions, Love (and Lies) or the Roeg/Cammell masterpiece, Performance. We wonder what Antonioni sees in these two actors, or in this story, maybe the most heavy-handed film about flight ever.

"a good many dramatic situations begin with screaming,"

"The black guards are leather men; they are without fleshy substance."

Epilogue II: ALICE TO DOROTHY / CANDY to BARBARELLA - Girl to Woman under a Sexist (male) rubric. 

 Pauline Kael's reference to the film as a dirty Wizard of Oz (3) may be warranted but only in that Barbarella is an innocent girl making her way through a strange landscape with the goal of meeting a wizard /scientist. With every man wanting to sleep with her, there's also the linking up to the same year's Candy, (below), another Terry Southern script (based on his novel) and much seedier (and funnier --for the first half anyway), with a more Alice in Wonderland arc (rather than some distinct mission). Candy just flees one escapade to wind up in another, spurred regularly onwards to the next vignette by some sex maniac she escaped previously. Really, she's little more than a passing lusty obsession for a series of extended comic monologues for Great White Male actors, most of whom end up babbling and groveling more than actual fornicating.  For Barbarella on the other hand, the men come in handy (she always needs help fixing her space ship, like a nymphomaniac parked on the side of a road, trapping men by fretting over her open hood), but rather than following her through some devotion to her niceness and her sincerity in trying to help replace their missing 'pieces,' these men help her because she represents, in herself, a cause, a freedom, a gorgeous openly sexual being whose innocence cannot be corrupted even when she's 'shamelessly' out-orgasming a death-by-pleasure machine. And Barbarella is a master seductress. We just may not notice since Jane handles things so discreetly. All Marcel Marceau's Professor has to do is mention Pygar needs 'inspiration' and she's gently guiding him back to his nest.

Comparisons to Alice in Wonderland are less apt, since the focus there is on a critique of British politics and the girl is too young for the adult set of signifiers we get with Barbarella. In fact you might stack them up in terms of age. Alice is the coming of age myth for the girl between 7 and 13; Dorothy for 13-17; Barbarella for 18-22. And anything older - honey if you haven't trained your animus and incorporated it into your whole so you're no longer looking for incomplete males to act as animus projection screens while your fairy tale your way to maturity, well, you're likely to be animus-dominated forever. If you don't get a milquetoast husband to boss around in the voice of your militant father, the only next stop is the Norman Bates shower of the sacrifice: your younger self (Janet Leigh) is still clinging to the husk and must be cut free to make way for a fully incorporated adult (Vera Miles) to take over.
"Decadence Lost"
The Heroine's Journey

One of the film's sexiest costume changes - Vadim shoots Jane in
it like he barely notices her heavenly thighs. Then she's into something
else - a criminal waste of some great boots. 
Unlike the 'hero's journey' as per Jung and Joseph Campbell, the psychedelic Alice/Dorothy mythic trek to maturity doesn't operate on a direct link to consciousness. For the male, there's always that breadcrumb trail or string Theseus unspooled when going through the maze, or some other device to return to consciousness and the social order. He's just a visitor here in the forest, the maze, the realm of the chthonic, the feminine unconscious of the masculine psyche. The masculine unconscious of the feminine psyche by contrast, isn't so cut and dry. It is uncut, and ever-wet. The woman descends not into the  maze but to the social order. She is only a visitor here in the Apollonian world of patriarchy and order. If she's hoping to gain something from her trip here, it's the ability to get back home, not necessarily with any prize to hand, and the home is generally not the one she left, but one where some good true prince (or grandmother) is waiting. She is the maze, the forest, in a way the masculine hero is not. Her role is not as conqueror or reformer or thief of some magic item, but of reclaimer of herself from the jaws of the wolf. She must face the devouring mother, the wolf in grandma's skin, and take over possession of the feminine archaic unconscious, she must become the red queen. She is the forest through which the knights wander, the moon that masculine clouds obscure but never fully blot out.

When Hate turns to Affectionate Tolerance

Confession: I used to hate Barbarella. And all Vadim's works. The only film of his I like is Blood and Roses (1961) and it's not even on DVD, Blu-ray, or VHS. It's hung up in legal limbo. You can get greymarket copies but it's frustrating to imagine how much better a nice restored Criterion edition might look. Turns out, Barbarella is an example of how much such treatment can better a film. Before it was badly cropped for TV, with unrestored muddy colors which --with some of the bad dubbing-- made it seem like a total tedious kitschy waste of time. Now it seems quite modern and wondrous, like so many Dino Di Laurentiis productions, it's got a great sense of art direction, with vast soundstage indoor/outdoor decadent tableaux reminiscent of his other great films -- Flash Gordon, Dune, Conan, to such an extent that they're all much better now that they were ever before, since they're initial theatrical release. You da man, Dino

As for Vadim, I guess I was jealous. Not anymore. Why? Because I love his memoir, Sympathy for the Devil. It's impossible to dislike him after reading it. In fact it might even explain his luck with gorgeous women -- his raconteur-ship is without peer!

Another plus is that, with the passing of time, the sex in Barbarella no longer seems as adolescent. Pornography as so dulled our collective senses that semi-softcore period erotica has found an audience in debauched cineastes like myself who can appreciate the genuine anarchic deviance, dream logic, and carefully artistic framing in the works of Jean Rollin, Jess Franco, Radley Metzger, or the propulsive over-the-top vavoom of Russ Meyer We don't 'get off' on them, or see them for their 'adult' cachet as they were created fo --at least not solely. Rather their ability to do whatever they want in between satisfying the demand of the producer (who expected a certain 'Adults Only' rating), they were free to do as they pleased leads to a kind of permissive experimental snapshot of their moment kind of thing that makes them almost time machine-level pertinent to modern instances. Thanks too to a steep drop in libido, I'm not clawing the turf and howling in forlorn longing over the extreme sexiness of Fonda. And John Phillip Law no longer scans as a towheaded focal point for my jealous rage, this maybe thanks to having seen the other big 60s European adult comic book title, Danger! Diabolik, where he stars, and also he's such a good-humored mensch in the extras on that DVD, it's hard not to love him. Also the music has become far enough out that it's back in. The vocals on the title song used to fill me with rage, rhyming Barbarella with cockleshell-a? Infuriating! All that does now though is make me realize what a wasted opportunity it is not to make Barbrella's spaceship look like half an scallop shell, or open up like a massive scallop, or draw some other Venus association, associating space with the ocean, as for example the film The Witch who Came From the Sea would do on such a smaller budget years later. A few connections to myth, to the archetypal roots underneath this stuff, would have gone a long way to making it less instantly dated (it would be 'timeless' instead).


The evolution of sex in popular culture has become intextricable from Fonda, both for her groundbreaking exercise tape, films like Barbarella, and--an element oft forgotten by other film historians -- her character in Coming Home (1978) has her first big orgasm via cunnilingus from a parapelegic Jon Voight. That year was marked by a kind of friction Oscar-grabbing war between that film and The Deer Hunter, making it a Big Moment for films critiquing the then relatively recent Vietnam experience. While their combination surely offered a kind of sociological sea change, what eager kids such as myself still remember, overhearing moms talk about it who hadn't even seen it., and even reading about in the grocery store line People, was suddenly cunnilingus was in. A woman's orgasm via oral sex was now a hot topic.

This was all part and parcel with Dr. Ruth Westheimer's popularity as a TV icon - her ability to come onto prime time and talk sweet old lady-like about sex and female orgasms, was quite an eye-opener, for the whole family. There does dwell within academic halls a hardcore feminist camp that thinks the whole "Joy of Sex" thing that started in the late 50s and flowered all through the mid-60s-late 70s, is just a long-con of a horny patriarchy to trick women into being more promiscuous. If so, then I also wonder about the motivations underlying this need of some female academes to poison the hetero well, so to speak. I don't cast blame, it's all unconscious and academes are notorious for being blind to their own analytical faults. (as the Rev. Shannon puts it in Night of the Iguana, "If Ms. Fellowe's ever found out about herself it would destroy her").

Maybe they're right, on the other hand. It took me a long time to realize that, as a straight, ungodly, debauched man, I may not be the best judge of what's good for feminism.

Her spaceship with its 4-walled carpet (for zero gravity spinning), keyboard for controls,
view screens/monitors, art works and strange tile board scanner wall,
make it a kind man cave/recording studio of any sensible dude's deepest wishes. 

Epilogue IV: VADIM and the Depleted Drive. 

OK, last tangent. Back to Roger Vadim. I love his book, Memoirs of the Devil - you read it and you 'get' why he got so many beautiful women. He's modest, charming, thrilling, insightful and always observant. His book reads like fine wine but his filming style is very drab. Why? How can a movie with a honey like Jane in those dynamite threads be so... inert?

Answer: the momentum of the drive, the propulsive energy generated via unrequited desire. Lacking the masochistic impulse, he can only chronicle the scene-- he isn't 'getting off' on some obscene element that might be there in the (partially) Terry Southern script. For a Terry Southern contrast, consider a film like Candy that aches and contorts with a kind of sexual longing that two-plus hours of unrepentant rutting does nothing to fulfill. It's a hungry ghost movie, and Candy's beauty and nubile... achingly... argggh physical allure is the never-ending wellspring at which we drink and drink and are left but thirstier.

By contrast, Jane notes later Vadim was often drunk by noon on set, and it makes sense, as there's no thirst unquenched in Barbarella, the way there is in Candy or, say, those twin Sue Lyon masterworks, Lolita (where our puritan drive to know did they or didn't they is obscured by the censor, and made so ambiguous we go as crazy as Humbert over those boys at Lo's school) or Night of the Iguana (where Ms. Fellowe's hovers in the wake of Charlotte's relentless come-ons)

Tennessee Williams and Richard Burton are both masters of giving us this 'need.'  We see it in Burton's T. Lawrence Shannon (in Night of the Iguana) walking across cut glass, ranting about 'fever' with the same agonized longing as he rants about his 'need', groveling in pools of Scotch on his Rolls' floor in Candy. We see it in the near-riot Sue Lyon causes down at the beach cabana bar (above), where the bartender declares "we don't want our boys to grow up knowing girls can be like you!," knowing full well Sue Lyon's voluptuous amok sexuality could set whole communities on their ear. But Williams gave us more than just the problem - or skirt chasing and regret (or Vadim's lackluster prurience).r A master, burrowing deep until the layers between mythic and personal are peeled away to nothing, Williams allows for stray notes of hope for genuine positive change. Iguana comes to terms with the change that lies beyond the realization the satisfaction's impossibility, the eternal thirst encoded into the lure of desire. Like Williams' other classics, it's about the enormous sacrifice that entails accepting what is, and letting go of one's terrible, aching wants. It's the kind of movie alcoholics love because it gives you all three worlds: what it was like before, what happened to change it, and what it's like now, i.e. astray-leading desire; nervous breakdown/attempted suicide; acceptance and grace through a talking cure--and then, letting go, because we're playing god here tonight. So AA, bro. He doesn't even have to get sober, because Ava Gardner will always get him back up. Pretty sweet.

Vadim on the other hand, tends to give us beautiful lush girls set up against gross, misogynistic entitled rapey small town sexists, like the vile older brothers in And God Created Woman, one-upping each other on the field of Bardot like the gang of small town wastrels in I Spit on Your Grave or like Giannini's Sandro before he kind of wakes up to his own Italian macho womanizing long enough to actually cry at the end of L'Aventura.

Barbarella was, when I first tried to love it as a teenager, on VHS, cropped and scanned and dreary, and my feminist onus bristled for I loathed the male characters I expected a sci-fi sex comedy to be either funny or sexy or sci-fi mind-blowing - and Barbarella was only one of the three. Perhaps I hated it originally growing up in such a snickering society of high school males, maybe not even in real life but certainly in the rote high school 'sex comedies' that ran parallel with the slasher craze for awhile in the early 80s, the two twisting together like scorpions screwing in my mind along the poison of DSB and hormones cooking me in their own juices, long before I discovered that any two alcoholic drinks downed quickly back to back would allay it all.

But I'd also seen Flesh Gordon (1974) by then, a very long-running midnight movie that film history has tended to forget. And not without good reason. The stop motion animation is good enough that it seems a waste, talented animators resorting to penis monsters like a bunch of third graders. The makers of Barbarella on the other hand, are about getting laid, not tittering through a keyhole with your snotty friends.

But on the other hand, Roger Vadim's prolific and top tier sexual relations made him a stranger to the parameters of desire. He directs like he's so sexually satisfied he can barely move the camera. Without the awesome and frequent costume changes, the deadpan wit of Jane, and the crazy artsy happening sets, it would be unendurable.

For Vadim you see, is a chronicler of an experienced pleasure - and that doesn't translate to the screen. It's why, too, Dino Di Laurentiis' pervious comic strip film, Mario Bava's Danger Diabolik is so much better than Barbarella, even though it's got way too few well-lit sets and too many outdoor shots for my taste; Barbarella is entirely setbound, and gorgeously designed.

We might look at this way, this handy way (this one), Flesh, Flash and Foxy

Puerile (junior high school) - the 'not laid / no prospects' virgin, both obsessed with sex but resigned towards it all existing in some alternate realm with no chance at the real thing: Flesh Gordon (1974) -
i.e. action without consequences/effect (not even trying to seduce, but rather snickering to mask your virgin sexually-frustrated terror)

Obesessive (high school) - chasing one's first sexual experience with singular focus: Flash Gordon 
i.e. action with consequences/effect (getting one's feet wet in the world of desire, but generally finding oneself in a loop-de-loop where the girl you like doesn't like you but her little sister does, and you think she's maybe too young or evil and manipulative.)

Laid (college) - desire fulfilled, leading to the prospect of enhancing pre-existant pleasure, and accepting the 'isness' will always missing from desire's fulfillment: Barbarella.
consequences/effect without action ( But then you go to boast to your bros but after that, you're left still with a void inside, and now you're expected to call her back! Burn!)


It ends here, all of cinema, the way Godard tried to the same year with WEEKEND.
Rather than end that way - we stop. For we're not so pompous to think we can speak even for ourselves.

And it helps to remember that this was still a time when strict censorship laws that had been creating all sorts of grief (and money) for talented writers like Southern, Ginsburg and Bill Burroughs, Henry Miller, etc. were being slowly eradicated. From 1967-1973-ish, dirty mindedness on a pop culture scale was genuinely subversive (even unto the late 70s there were elements of it - for an example consider the way Burt Reynolds uses curse words in films like Semi-Tough, there's almost a pause afterwards for the audience to lose their minds - 'is he allowed to say that?') But once the bar was lowered and half the world jumped over, such stuff ceased to be relevant. Without a proper conservative agenda to rail against, the dirtiness became tawdry rather than subversive. Censorship was like a leash that keeps dogs brave until the dog realizes the owner isn't holding the other end. In spelling everything out, the whole language of the 'code' ceases to have meaning! We're in post-structuralist territory! Even Antonioni gets lost in here!

Sorry if I failed to reach a point - but you know how it is. I just got back from St. Maarten and am still getting back into the groove. So in closing I'll just say - if you saw the old Barbarella, on VHS or cable TV, forget it. See it again on widescreen remastered HD. Vadim's laid buzzed ennui or no, you can savor the gorgeous Claude Renoir photography, the gonzo Di Laurentiis-brand costumes and set design, and give thanks to the human gene pool for giving us the DNA sequence known as Jane Fonda. Sure, Barbarella seems dated now, and was dated then - but whether it's back 3,500 years or ahead 2,100, it's still a groovy trip, pills or no pills.

For Woozle!

Babarella - back on a planet too starved to accommodate her level of beauty

On Vadim:
Pimps: The Devil's Subjects
CineamArchetype 17. The Devil

On Pallenberg:
Ich Liebe dich so....
Great Acid Movies #2: PERFORMANCE (1968)

On Jane:
Bree Daniels, Gamblers: KLUTE, THE MALTESE FALCON.
Jane Fonda does Tennessee Williams: PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT (1962)
Post-Sexual Jane: THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? (1968)

On The Feminine Unconscious:
Why Don't We Just Go Ask Alice? 
Alice 2.2: The Looking Glass Dolls 
Some (was some) kind of (a) Mushroom: GO ASK ALICE (1973)
Reeling and Writhing: ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1933)

Camptown Sci-fi:
Tigron and Taboo: the Freudian Dream Theater of FLASH GORDON (1936)
Tales from the Retro-Futurist Pharmacy: SPACE STATION 76, PHASE IV, Boards of Canada

Goal-struck Post-Structuralism:
Cinq à sept vs. the Censors: RED DESERT
BSummerLofOmyPlasticW-USoldierP (1966)
Zabriskie Point is Everywhere

"My" Great White NEED
(before better means of ego support and self esteem were made available):
My Long Day's Journey into NIGHT OF THE IGUANA (1964)
All Tomorrow's Playground Narratives: Kubrick's LOLITA (BL)
Easter Acid Cinema Special: MOTHER! (2017)
Quixote Ugly: THE SWIMMER (1968)
All the Flower People Screaming: DOCTOR FAUSTUS (1967)
Laureate of the Laid: Terry Southern, CANDY (1968)
Pictures taking Pictures: MYRA BRECKINRIDGE and the Misandric Hollywoodophile
Fantasy Phallus Fallacy: SATURN 3 (1980)
The Foxy, the Dead, and the Foxier: DEATH-PROOF (BL 1/08)

Feminine Paranoia:
Age of Asherah: ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968)
le rayon bleu Deneuve REPULSION
Gimme Cockaine: MELANCHOLIA (2011)
Ms. Icarus Risen: THE BLACK SWAN (2010)

1. Gilgamesh (c. 2100 BC) - Stephen Mitchell translation - p. 77
2. "In Europe, sex is a fact. In America, an obsession." - Marlene Dietrich.
3. In her New Yorker review - " Jane Fonda has the skittish naughtiness of a teen-age voluptuary. She's the fresh, bouncy American girl triumphing by her innocence over a lewd, sadistic world of the future."
5. The same went for another Italian, Zefferelli, whose 1968 hit Romeo and Juliet resonated with the Vietnam-torn youth movement, but whose 1971 follow-up, the idealistic hippie trip Brother Sun, Sister Moon - bombed big, though personally I love it way more). 
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