Here’s a real treat. The beautiful Jane Fonda, photographed in 1968 on the set of Barbarella by British photographer Paul Joyce. We are including three of Paul’s Barbarella photographs in our new exhibition, The Women Who Rock, which goes on show on 15 February 2011, including one previously unpublished Barbarella image. These are not just very beautiful images, but extremely very good value.
You can view them here
Paul has managed to track down the original 12 minute publicity film that he made for Barbarella, and this has been painstakingly restored and transferred from 16mm film to DVD. We will be playing it at the gallery during the exhibition.
We asked Paul to give us some background to the shoot – read on for an account of Paul’s time on the Barbarella film set.
"I was but a callow youth then, pulled out of film school (there was only one in London then, back in the 60s) by Hollywood supremos from Universal and then Paramount Pictures. Why me? Because, as is always the case with Hollywood, they come for you if you can be useful to them, and more importantly, can make money for them. It was Laurence Olivier’s agent, great friend and confidant, Cecil Tennant, who spotted me and basically raced me through the ranks to become a director in my early 20s. Then before I knew it I was on a plane to Rome, a Boeing 707 piloted by two Australians drinking vodka and tonics in the cockpit (well it was a long time ago) with a commission from Paramount to cover the filming of “Barbarella” for their publicity department. "
"It was this early experience of using money from one budget to fund another project that got me where I am today (currently out of work). Thus I used the Publicity Department’s money to make a pretty useless publicity film, but what turned out to be a personal and impressionistic account of being on set with Jane Fonda, Roger Vadim, David Hemmings and Marcel Marceau. Fortunately few people at Paramount could tell the difference when they viewed my opus, and so I was let out of the cage on a number of subsequent occasions."
"The crumbling and not-at-all soundproof studios outside Rome had recently been acquired by the producer Dino Di Laurentiis, and it was here that the elaborate sets had been constructed, and where we were all installed in concrete offices close by where we could all be kept an eye on. Here I have to acknowledge the generosity and skill of the photographer assigned to cover the publicity on the film, David Hurn of the great Magnum Picture Agency who encouraged me to use a stills camera for the first time in a serious way. These photographs in this exhibition are the result of David’s well-proven ability to nurture and encourage talent."
"The star, Jane Fonda and her husband, director Roger Vadim, had installed themselves in a wonderful five hundred year old villa on the Via Appia Antica, but the goings on there were an eye-opener for someone whose main sexual experience involved the awkward unhooking of a brassiere in the back row of the Granada Sydenham. Naked women appearing from behind balcony curtains chased by rock musicians with upraised members, cries and moans of pleasure and (I assumed) pain echoing around the Roman artefacts, all this and more. Ah how it all comes back to me!"
"Even in the midst of all these goings- on, the 60s, compared to the world as it is now, were basically innocent days. The Rolling Stones dropped by the set with Anita Pallenberg, looking much more intimidating than they actually were. The slightly musty smell of marijuana hung over their colourful clothes, but people weren’t dying in lonely hotel rooms quite yet from overdoses of heroin or crack cocaine. Jane’s role as “Barbarella” kind of epitomised the optimism in the air: sexual dalliance and pleasure seemed a better alternative to engaging with the Vietcong. Her experience of tantric sex, courtesy of Milo O’Shea’s orgasmic organ (of the musical kind) seemed to delight her about as much as a child’s introduction to candy floss or a toffee apple. In a sense then, we all felt like that. Looking back, we seem to have lost more than we have gained."