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This review is from: Daisies (Sedmikrásky)  [DVD] (DVD)Daisies by Chytilová
V'ra Chytilová, like French Agnès Varda, is one of the still universally rare female Czech film directors, especially in the 1960's. By this, I do not mean to imply that female directors are not behaving like directors, but that their choice of topics and view of the world is bound to have, while not necessarly a gender, non- or anti-masculine touch, a certain feminine dimension.
Chytilová is best known for her Czech New Wave film Daisies (Sedmikrásky, 1966), which became also the film that established her international reputation. The film follows the antics of two characters, Marie I and Marie II, who engage in a series of destructive adventures in a surrealist atmosphere. Such techniques, in Chytilova's own words, "restrict [the spectator's] feeling of involvement and lead him to an under-standing of the underlying idea or philosophy."
Though famous for its experimentation in form and content, Daisies is also marked by witty imagery and visual puns, not unlike the work of the Dada artists of the 1920s who pushed the limits of artistic expression with cleverness and anarchic humor. Film historians point out Chytilová's debt to Luis Buñuel and other Surrealists. The inventive and visually striking cinematography is by Chytilová's second husband, Jaroslav Kucera.
Those familiar with Chytilova's background in philosophy discuss the film as nihilistic or existential, while cultural critics see it as a statement against materialism and consumerism in modern society. Others focus on the antics of the two Maries in search of a feminist reading. Daisies is clearly open to multiple interpretations that do not necessarily contradict each other, but exist as parallel readings of a complex film. ''
''Though completed in 1966, Daisies was not released for a year. Bureaucrats and politicians were disliked the film, most likely because of its complexities and avant-garde style. Officially, one deputy from the Czech National Assembly complained that the imagery of the film revealed a wastage of food (scenes at the banquet setting). As soon as it was released, Daisies won the Grand Prix at the film festival in Bergamo. This would become the pattern of Chytilová's career--while gaining recognition for her work on an international level, she obtained no further state funds in her own country.
PS Let me take this occasion to remind my readers that my grading of films is often a mixture between artistic valuation and historical relevance. Also, I am often short of space - reviews are meant to be kept to a certain average length, with amazon quite tolerant. In some cases like Daisies, I need to reduce my aspects to keep to my length - but then, there is the internet right at your fingertips, and if you start searching for more on the subject, you make me happy, as there is plenty more, easily accessible, and mostly worthwhile.
58 - 5 February 2014