Daisies (Sedmikrásky)

Dir: Vera Chytilová, 1966. Starring: Jitka Cerhová, Ivana Karbanová. Czech. Foreign.
Daisies (Sedmikrásky)

Daisies begins and ends with stock footage of war and industry. Between these two bookends two charmingly bratty young women (both named Marie) decide that because the world is bad that they will be too. They spend a lot of their time engaged in elaborate pranks often involving getting free meals from old men and creative slapstick destruction involving fire, scissors and lots of food.

The cinematography of Jaroslav Kucera is amazingly beautiful and innovative. His jarring use of colors, beautiful compositions and dreamy visual effects contribute to a carnivalesque mood that is both heavily psychedelic very New Wave. The distorted, strange sounds, the amazing sets and the wonderful costumes all reinforce Chytilová's wonderful vision.

There isn't much narrative to speak of and very little is done to develop the Maries as characters. The effect isn't as distancing as you might expect. Although they may be difficult to relate to as flesh and blood people; as icons, their anarchic disregard for conventions and consequences seems very attractive and fun. They're like the Honest John and Gideon the Cat from Pinocchio, beckoning us to ditch school and join them for 74 minutes on Pleasure Island.

It's fun, memorable and irresponsible and you'll have a stomach ache and memories when it's over. It's hard to say more about a film that resists verbal description. People who don't like this film are invariably in agreement with those of us who love it. Their complaints are the same as our pleasures. That's part of what makes it so fun. Its designed to divide the world into the small "us" and the big "Them." It seems so accessible to me but I guess not everyone has a gluttonous appetite for bratty destruction.

Posted by:
Eric Brightwell
Dec 5, 2007 3:38pm
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