Film Thoughts: DAISIES (1966)

Last time had the opportunity to watch ‘Daisies’ during the monthly screenings held by Film Society of Bhubaneswar.

‘Daisies’ is a 1966 film by Věra Chytilová and is highly regarded as one of the distinguished films of the 1960’s Czech new wave era. As the name suggests, it would easily come across as a non-serious and a non-intense film. But just like some of the facts about the film that are very interesting and surprising, the film, similarly had layers of political and ideological statements ready to be peeled off its surface.

The film is about two adolescent female (a blonde and a brunette) who are partners in crime. Both of them are named Marie and the crime they commit is in what today’s time we call socializing  They meet older men and give them opportunities to believe that the ladies would become their escorts. The ladies after having some expensive food and getting pampered (until their liking) just get rid of the older men. The film in its treatment looks very light-hearted but within all this anarchy (the visibly unconnected moments and bizarre things happening in the apartment rooms of the two Marie(s)) comes forth the attitude of these young women to prove each other – who is the most spoiled. There is no question of morality or bondage – evident when the ladies exclaim – ‘We can try anything once’. They believed the only way to behave in a world as spoiled as ours is to become spoiled too. Their innovation in experimenting new ides and moments of self inflicted pain are just two sides of the same coin. The film after the initial few minutes largely remains in the elaborately laid banquet hall which the Marie(s) outrageously binge upon and spoil it – showing how the rich and powerful are indulging in a daily excess that could feed thousands.

The film is a visual collage of surreal images and ambiguous thoughts – and that is the beauty of this film which has no definite plot. It is a spectacle, a treat to watch such intrinsic art work!

Věra Chytilová was the first female director of her country. The two protagonists Ivana Karbanová, Jitka Cerhová were actually non professionals. The cinematography by Jaroslav Kucera (also the direcotr’s husband) has been surreal, innovative and gripping. The screenplay with its beautiful imagery is refreshing even today. The editor would have had a very tough time back in those days and the efforts given to animate key moments of the film are highly praiseworthy.

“This film is dedicated to those who get upset only over a stomped-upon bed of lettuce,” says the director. Yes the entire team pulled out a gem and named it ‘Daisies’. Yes, the film was banned in its home country then, simply because of the rebellion it brought against the societal norms.

A must watch!

*** Blog Image Courtesy: From the Internet. No intention to misuse or commercialize.

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