1966 film Daises (Polish title: Sedmikrásky) had come to my town for only 4 days so I had to go out and see it! I had been exposed to it like how I’m exposed to most things these days, through tumblr and knew that it was a feminist, avant garde, experimental film with pretty interesting imagery.
|I should have stolen this poster|
The film opens with old war footage intercut with the grinding of the gears of a machine. The war footage is bombings from above and set up the feeling of reality versus the fantastical setting of the rest of the film. Made in 1966 by Věra Chytilová, one of the members of the Czechoslovak New Wave and the first female director in her country. Made during the communist rule of Czechoslovak and made with government money, this film was immediately banned for its supposed anarchist and feminist message.
The two main characters both named Marie (Maria?) arrive on the screen like puppets and declare “The world is spoiled! We will be just as spoiled!” and announce that they will only engage in naughty acts. Okay I’m totally on board. They date older men for dinner and then ditch them on a train that leaves town, they get wasted every chance they get, they eat apples and pickles in their bedroom, wear coordinating outfits, hang out in bathrooms, put on tons of black eyeliner and disrupt nearly every environment they are in. They are like nymphs, at one innocently frolicking through a green pasture then rolling around the bed in their nighties.
The film uses color development and collages to an abstract point. Some scenes are red, blue, yellow or all three in a 3-d glasses effect, others are entirely in black and white. There are many scenes with flowers cut together with voice overs of words like “Die! Die! Die!”
If there is a point to be made from this film it is the question that if a world is so screwed up by men, their lust for women, their desire for war, shouldn’t women in turn just destroy everything and behave badly in a world that treats us so badly? I say yes. Well sort of.
The film is whimsical and cute at times, the girls are harmless never hurting anything more than feelings. But when they are laying down in a bedroom covered in men’s phone numbers, listening to a man beg for one of the girls love with empty promises over the phone (“I can only think of you”…blahblahblah “I think I’m in love with you” blahblahblah) the girls giggle while eating sausages, bananas and pickles with long shears, snipping at the length like a rough circumcision.
They are messages all around, men are useless, they lie and use for their own amusement but when you play with them they accuse you of being cold and heartless. Or perhaps its an allegory on war, the endless consuming and destruction and toying with people’s lives as if it were all a game, shows how small acts complete a total picture of cruelty. I don’t know!
If you are going to watch this film, absorb the beautiful surrealist imagery and the nonsensical acts of the two girls and have an open mind. There is no plot, no character arc, the girls reform their ways at the end and swear to be good (only because they are bored) and are crushed by a chandelier. I’m not ruining anything for you because, well, it doesn’t matter anyway you still have no fucking clue whats going on. They lay on the table in the closing scene wrapped up in newspaper like pieces of chopped meat waiting to be devoured by the society that they have given themselves over to.
Enjoy the adorable sense of nihilism and the rampant misandry and anti-establishment attitude! It’s really a punk movie after all, for all the girls on the pastel punk movement, they will appreciate the message of the girls and rally for the message of living your life as you want, because everything is fucked anyway.
I felt invigorated afterwards. I felt light and carefree. Who cares what other people think of me? Who cares what people want and expect of me? It is my life and I exist on my own.
Who cares that people shout things at me? And try to touch me against my will and think that I am not capable of doing the things I want to in life? This is my life! I will do what I want! Who cares? The world is spoiled and so am I!
If you want to see the movie, check your local art house for a screening near you. If you don’t have a screening, watch the whole thing on Vimeo! Yaow!