Daisies (1966, Vera Chytilová)

The kind of filmmaking anarchy that everyone was doing in the 60’s, only here it’s done exceptionally well – as much anarchy as possible without the whole thing devolving into a mess.

Two girls who may or may not be sisters and possibly have the same first name seem to be scamming older men, playing with their food, and destroying everything they see (but artistically).

The filmmaking is as nuts as the girls – color filters, editing tricks, svankmajerian stop-mo fields of springs, a scene where the girls lop each other’s heads off with scissors, all from b/w to color and back again. It’s all very playful and contagiously fun.

After trashing an entire banquet table, the girls atone by trying to reassemble things while spouting propaganda (“If we’re good and hard-working, we’ll be happy”), closing with: “This film is dedicated to all those whole sole source of indignation is a trampled-on trifle.” Governments have no senses of humor, so the film was banned for wasting food.

The Guardian: Chytilová does not see herself as a feminist filmmaker, but rather believes in individualism, stating that if a person does not believe in a particular set of conventions or rules then it is up to that individual to break them.

M. Koresky for Criterion:

Chytilová ensures that something unexpected occurs in virtually every shot and edit, juxtaposing images with dissonant sounds, abruptly changing color filters within scenes, and fragmenting many sequences through unmotivated montage.

Though Daisies remains playful to its climactic orgy (a mega food fight), it is ultimately a dark, subversive work, aggressively critiquing those who might find it offensive before they even have a chance to complain.

Film Quarterly:

Roughly, the film is a series of fluctuations between gorging and de-gorging, a come-and-go between deluxe restaurants and ladies’ rooms. Our entire civilization could not be mocked more brutally. … But the most truly original element of the film is the soundtrack, an incredible blend of canned music from Wagner’s “Gotterdimmerung” to “Plaisir d’Amour,” animation noises, jazz songs and murmurs which … work not against the film but for it. The score bursts forth from the atonality of the images.

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