Friday, August 24, 2012

Daisies (1966)

It's hard to say if Daisies is really about something, but I will do my best. Two young women, both named Marie, have decided that everything in the world is bad- so they should be bad too. The films narrative is not at all straightforward and often jumps around and doesn't make much sense, but it mostly follows these two around while they amuse themselves and make other's lives miserable. 

I know it sounds crazy. It's often extremely mean-spirited. But the two lead actresses have an impish charm that makes it hard to not like them. They seem to be in the middle of a manic episode the entire film. After a while I did hate them. But I loved the movie. 

Daisies is a part of the Czech New Wave movement and it was written and directed by Věra Chytilová. Some consider it a feminist work and I can understand why. But its message is a little unclear. I am not well versed in feminist theory, but I do believe that in order to affect the mainstream, you should be a part of it. This film is more Anarchist than Feminist in my opinion. And the ending makes you rethink everything that the first 70 minutes made you feel.  

The visuals are brilliant. It is absolutely a product of the 1960's with flower patterns and oranges and yellows, some sequences bordering on the psychedelic. The film also pays tribute to Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and even French director Jacques Tati, who was known for his slapstick comedy. The two girls in Daisies are sort of like younger and less jaded versions of Tati's bumbling, technology challenged character Monsieur Hulot. If they make it, they will certainly become just like him on 30 years. 

As an aside, I want to mention something I always liked about the television show Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Sometimes the person committing the crime would get away with it at the end of the show, but Hitchcock would always come on the screen after and assure the audience that the law and Karma eventually caught up with them and they were sent to prison. I wonder if Marie and Marie have ever seen that show. 

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