I have long decided that my first film review entry is going to be the anarchistic and rebellious “Daisies” (Sedmikrasky) (1966) by Czech film maker Vera Chytilova. I am not exactly sure why I chose this one, but it does reflect a lot of my very own thoughts and self.
It is probably not only opinion of mine, but many others that, historical facts are quite useful, because films reflect their times when they were created – what was crucial to society at that time. “Dasies” did not see the daylight until 1967 due to Soviet censorship in Czechoslovakia as it was regarded as highly inappropriate for the excessive misbehaviour of the main film characters.
Movie begins with scenery of war, bombings and heavy industry. Chytilova reflects her country’s difficult political stand, the Soviet occupation. “Daisies” was the manifest movement of Chytilova against politics and unfair treatment of Czechoslovakia. Anarchy is not ending in there, though. In the film centre: two young and bold female characters (judging by looks in their 20s) of the generation born during WWII. Youth that lost their childhood of freedom and peace, without knowing what they can do in a goddamned country as Soviet Union. As this was a reality for everyone born and raised during post-war period, “Daisies” is showing the response of youth against the rigid government regulations and society that has been oppressed.
“Daisies” speak for not only political issues, but for the female figure in cinema generally. The boldness, mischief and disobedience of the main female characters is something rarely seen in cinema. Marie I and Marie II are girls who are expected to get married, settle down and have children, having in mind the mentality of the society back then, but they are not interested in contributing to society as reproductive elements of it. The male gaze in this film is completely washed out by their behaviour. Girls speak a guy around his 40s, later one in his 70s, into having a dinner, however it turns out, that they were not interested in them at all, just free food. There is a scene of the girls reading through their bedroom walls covered in names of men that they supposedly met before, however none of them were allowed to stay. Their real objective is attention, however, not the male one – they want the attention, the recognition of society. The youth wants to be seen, not forgotten or ignored, they wish to stand out for the depressed adults and community which has left no space for their individuality and freedom.
The film contains several ways of lightning – colouring is being changed throughout the film, varying from black&white to coloured, dark and cold, vivid and bright colours. It also has scenes with surrealistic moments, which is usual for independent or experimental cinema. Speaking of the plot, some people might see “Daisies” developed quite randomly or storyline being bit shaky and leading nowhere, but this is where they need to relax about it. Film happened not to be random at all, but rather playful in terms of viewers’ perspective. The use of symbols in this movie is not random either. You can see visuals of flowers, especially in the girls’ room or one of the characters wearing a flower crown as a reminder of one’s innocent and not wasted existence.
To conclude my narrow observations of this film, I would judge it as one of the “must-see” for those, who are prepared for a mental journey, but do not want a too much demanding one and are rather interested in historical context of it.