Daisies by Věra Chytilová
I was 21 when I first watched 'Daisies'. It was my first Věra Chytilová film and I knew I didn’t understand it at the time, but also knew I loved it. It was overwhelming in its psychedelic colour, esoteric sets, and cryptic dialogue, but that wasn’t its only impact. Rather, it was the ineffable sense that these things were powerful political and social messages, ones I couldn’t yet decode. It shifted something in me. It was surreal and it stayed with me.
Daisies became a personal talisman of sorts, and over time, it opened my mind to exploring an array of experimental art. It was those things I later learned about—Dada, Fluxus happenings, feminist performance art—that have in turn continued to unlock new aspects of the film for me. It's a powerful statement piece, a surreal destruction of decadence, an experience, more felt than analysed.
Chytilová was blacklisted at the time for making Daisies, and this type of oppression and erasure can be seen all throughout history (even today), of underrepresented and marginalised visionaries in all fields, occupations and parts of life. Daisies is just first of the many formidable films by Chytilová that I grew to love.
DAISIES, 1966, ‘Sedmikrásky’, Directed by Věra Chytilová.
Plot: Two teenage girls, both named Marie, decide that since the world is spoiled they will be spoiled as well; accordingly they embark on a series of destructive pranks in which they consume and destroy the world about them. This freewheeling, madcap feminist farce was immediately banned by the government.