Barbarella is a 41st century astronaut who is sent on a mission by the president of Earth to the planet of Lythion to find the evil Durand Durand in the city of Sogo. On her way she encounters many different perils such as demon china dolls and the Exessive machine which is an organ used in the form of torture by pleasuring the victim to death. She meets a blind angel named Pygar who helps her to battle the Black Queen to accomplish her mission and save the world.
Barbarella is a unique film in the sense that it was completely shot on soundstages therefore to create the scenery either sets or miniatures had to be built for the shots of the film. The sets are obviously created to look futuristic but there is definitely influence of 60’s aesthetics in the designs which is very apparent in the design of Barbarella’s space ship interior where the walls are covered in a shag pile carpet . The set designs fit in well with 60’s aesthetics and Edward Guthmann sums it up very well: ’ ....what's not to like about set designs that look like someone's acid-induced science project....’ http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1996/09/13/DD58929.DTL
Mark Hodgson on his blog takes note of the connection between the sets and the sexual tones of the film: ‘Some incidental pieces of furniture are copies of body parts, particularly the Queen's bed. Phallic and breast-like motifs are of course abundant, extending even to the vehicles....’ http://blackholereviews.blogspot.com/2010/05/barbarella-1968-ultimate-guide-part-5.html . This can also be said for some of the props that are involved within the film such as Barabrellas Ship when it is stuck in the ground and also the gun that Barbarella uses is very phallic in shape.
The plot is generally non-existent within Barbarella but rather seems to exploit the backgrounds and the sexuality of Fonda. Throughout the film it seems that Fonda seems to wear skimpier and skimpier clothing while getting herself into more and more sexual situations accompanied by the more sexual settings which eventually leads to Sigo where everywhere is full of sexual sins for the inhabitants to live. Almar Haflidason believes: ‘The story line is buried under a team of scriptwriters who were clearly trying to outdo each other with naughty situations that Fonda could writhe out of. Indeed the film can at times become tedious - until Fonda bats those eyelids, squeezes into a smaller outfit and straddles another moment of sexual peril.’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2000/09/29/barbarella_review.shtml
Babarella is a film with an exploration into sex in the sixties, it is very camp and the backgrounds are psychedelic and at times very sexually suggestive. It has a extreme lack of plot which makes the film seem ridiculously pointless however the sets are amazing and the humour keeps engaging to make it a worthwhile experience.