Friday, April 25, 2014

Daisies (1966 film)

Directed by Vera Chytilova and screenplay by Chytilova, Pavel Juracek, and Ester Krumbachova from a story by Chytilova, Sedmikrasky (Daisies) is the story of two young ladies who share the same name as they embark on a series of misadventures through pranks in their belief that nothing in the world should be taken seriously. Considered to be one of the key films of the Czech New Wave of the 1960s, the film is a look into the life of two young woman who want to rebel against society through means of anarchist antics. Starring Jitka Cerhova, Ivana Karbanova, Jan Klusak, Marie Ceskova, Jirina Myskova, and Julius Albert. Sedmikrasky is an odd yet exhilarating film from Vera Chytilova.

The film is a simple story of two women both named Marie who engage into a series of crazy antics as they let rich men dine for them and all sorts of things. It’s a film that doesn’t have any real sense of plot but rather a continuous journey of the misadventures these two young women embark on. Especially as these two women just want to have fun and enjoy life as they want to be spoiled just like the rich and engage in all sorts of antics, eat the finest food, drink the best wine, and have fun. Throughout the film, the two women talk discuss existential ideas while pondering about their life of anarchy and decadence as it would lead to a crazy climax that would up their sense of misadventure.

Vera Chytilova’s direction is definitely filled with style as it recalls not just silent cinema of the early 20th Century but also the vibrancy of what was happening in Europe in the 1960s. The sense of chaos with some gorgeous compositions and imagery is definitely prevalent throughout the film where it feels loose and offbeat. Even in the antics of the two women becomes more outlandish as it includes moments of them eating food with such gluttony and glee as it would include moments that are just even crazier. Chytilova would shoot the film with such style as it would be shot in different array of formats from black-and-white to color along with some dizzying sequences to play into these young women and their thirst for anarchy. Overall, Chytilova creates a very fascinating and whimsical film about two young ladies creating chaos to deal with their bored lives.

Cinematographer Jaroslav Kucera does brilliant work with the film‘s cinematography from the different filters and colors schemes he creates for some of the scenes as well as the imagery as much of it is beautiful and lively. Editor Miroslav Hajek does fantastic work with the editing as it is very stylized with some dizzying montages and jump-cuts to play into the film‘s humor and sense of anarchy. Production designer Karel Lier and set decorator Frantisek Straka do amazing work with the set pieces from the apartment the girls live in with its own sense of quirks to some of the places they go to such as the posh restaurant and the banquet in the film’s climax.

Costume designer Ester Krumbachova does nice work with the costumes as it has a sense of style as it plays to the whimsical nature of the girls. The sound work of Ladislav Hausdorf is excellent for the array of sound effects created as well as the layers of chaotic sound . The film’s music by Jiri Sust and Jiri Slitr is superb for its mixture of jazz, rock, pop, and classical to play into the sense of chaos and decadence that is prevalent throughout the film.

The film’s cast includes some notable small roles from Marie Ceskova and Jirina Myskova as a couple of women the girls meet in the bathroom along with Jan Klusak and Julius Albert as the two different men the girls woo. Finally, there’s Jitka Cerhova and Ivana Karbanova in spectacular performances as the two Maries as they’re just two women who want to have fun and live a life of absolute freedom and be spoiled by men and all sorts of stuff as they are the heart and soul of the film.

Sedmikrasky is a phenomenal film from Vera Chytilova. It’s a film that is just extremely out there with its offbeat humor and sense of decadence as it features two remarkable performances from Jitka Cerhova and Ivana Karbanova. For anyone interested in the films of the Czech New Wave, this film is definitely the best place to start. In the end, Sedmikrasky is a wondrous and intoxicating film from Vera Chytilova.

© thevoid99 2014


Chris said...

Happy you enjoyed this one! I love how the stylish visuals by the filmmaker seem to be as playful as the girls’ attitude.
I guess you're right, girls want to be spoiled just like the rich, and there's a sense of chaos.
The banquet scene is fun to watch, and open to interpretations, I read its mocking the power structure and the hypocrisy of the privileged elite.
Sad news, Sight and Sound did an article on Daisies, because the director died 12 March-so she just missed the oscar in memoriam.

thevoid99 said...

I had a blast watching this film. I was aware that the filmmaker did pass away recently as I'm now glad I was able to see her crowning achievement. I hope to check out more films of the Czech New Wave.