Věra Chytilová’s Daisies (1966) has been called a lot of things – confrontational, subversive, empty-headed, wanton. The elusive nature of the film means you can call its protagonists, the Maries, a lot of things. Just don’t call them late for dinner. For what it’s worth, I call it magnificent. From my very first viewing, I was in love with these two, their playful anarchy and the way they devour everything in their path. It’s notable for both the way it captures the spirit of the era and its experimental nature. I also love it for the window I imagine it gives into the relationship of Chytilová and her collaborator, Ester Krumbachová. Does life imitate art or vice versa? In this case, I hope it’s both!
Daisies is also important in terms of the place it occupies in the Czech New Wave. It is quite possibly the most acclaimed film of that movement. It’s certainly among the most audacious. The revolutionary energy of the film is undeniable, both aesthetically and politically. At one point in the film, the Maries decide that a statement is in order. “Let’s do something big”, they say. Chytilová, with these characters as her mouthpiece, certainly managed to do just that. For two spoiled girls making a ruckus as they navigate a spoiled world, their voracious folly continues to reverberate over half a century later. They deserve your attention.
What you’ll find in this episode: a whirlwind intro to the Czech New Wave, conspicuous consumption, frivolity as a revolutionary act, and a new treat for the bedside table.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out Daisies on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of A Woman Is a Woman.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Zero for Conduct.
The official website of FAMU.
A list of essential Czech New Wave viewing.