15 February 2021

Věra Chytilová's Sedmikrásky | Daisies (1966)


Věra Chytilová's Daisies (starring the young women Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová, who are both known as Marie here) may call to mind many other off-centre films, such as La Grand Bouffe and Céline et Julie vont en bateau, but that still doesn't give an idea of the craziness in this movie. It has been called neo-dadaist, a satire on bourgeois decadence, and was banned in Czechoslovakia as if was considered anti-communist.

The young women criticise things because they're bad, and proceed to perform many destructive and generally negative actions to, it seeems, alleviate their boredom: they they tease elderly men into buying them meals; they burn toilet paper hanging in their room; they have a box in a nightclub, get drunk and drink from other people's glasses; they cut food up and display it on a plate as if it's a temporary work of art, etc.

Towards the end is an extended scene in which they go to a factory of some sort and ride in a dumb waiter to a large room where a banquet has been prepared. At first they tentatively eat bits of the food at the edges, then carry it to the main table, gorge themselves and dance on the remains. In a following sequence they attempt to lay the table as it was, clearing it of food and putting bits of broken plates together, a napkin on the top, and piling the huge mess of food in a heap.

The film closes as it begins, with a shot of war, and the final message is: 'dedicated to those who get upset only over a stomped-upon bed of lettuce'.

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