"My one and only preoccupation is to stimulate reaction from the viewer, to make him think, consider, analyze problems. What I may think or say is of no importance. What matters, for me, is that others should think when they see my films. I want to make people think," says director Vera Chytilová. Daisies certainly provokes that reaction.
Daisies is a tale of two women who think that if society is spoiled (rotten) that they should be spoiled (pampered) too. They take it upon themselves to live the good lifenever paying for anything or having a care in the world. The women are obsessed with food and they go to great lengths to gorge themselves at the expense of others.
Maybe in 1966 to the Czechoslovakian government, Chytilová’s themes of crass consumerism and cultural stagnation were more obvious, or perhaps the film just freaked them out; either way, it was banned for a year and Chytilová was not allowed state funds for her next film.
Chytilová uses a wide range of cinematic techniques in this film but they are so varied and frequent that they seem appropriate, as opposed to the weird things Francis Ford Coppola did in Bram Stoker's Dracula where it just seemed like he was as bored with the movie as I was (though I doubt anyone could be... well, maybe Keanu Reeves) and tried to liven it up a bit.
There’s a whole lot of things going on in Daisies and every time I watch it I catch a new motif. If I were to list everything that occurs on screen you would think I’m daft. I would almost like to see a chart of this film showing what bits are in color, in black & white, or color processed. Perhaps that would be a good starting place to determine just what the hell is going on here.
I guess I'd kind of let Chytilová down if I said that I really enjoy watching this film and not putting too much thought into it, just letting the images wash over me. I figure that by the twentieth or thirtieth time I might have more of an idea of what is going on but until then I just enjoy watching these two Czech beauties giggle, dance, get drunk, eat magazines, set their room on fire, cut each other up with scissors, and debate the truth of their existence in one of the most creative movies I’ve seen in a long time.
I might be at an unfair disadvantage or my mind might be polluted by other people’s opinions of this film. I had read so much about this movie that when I finally saw it, everything seemed familiar and I started to attach meaning to things that might appear senseless (that’s what those film people do, you know) so, maybe it’s not about consumerism at all. I guess you'll just have to watch it and judge for yourself.
I had always heard that this film is unavailable but Shock Cinema editor Steve Puchalski managed to hook me up with a copy. Whatta guy! I highly recommend Daisiesit’s candy for the eyes and cud for the mind.