Thursday, 16 February 2012
Czech New Wave is mostly renowned for the numerous utterly delectable fables and brilliantly satirical sociopolitical commentaries it has gifted us with. The much acclaimed yet largely obscure avant-garde comedy, Daisies, provided an entirely different perspective to the movement. This vibrant, gleefully experimental, and surrealist film was a daring exercise in Dadaism, and as a result most people would not find the humour and underlying message of this ‘nonsense film’ accessible – it might leave one cold or even alienated as it’s certainly not an easy film to watch or appreciate. No wonder, like so many films belonging to that subversive movement, it was banned by the establishment, while its director, Vera Chytilova, was forbidden to work for the next 8 years. On the surface it might seem that the director is having delirious fun at the expense of her actors and her audience. The two irreverent young women protagonists indulge in a series of largely unrelated activities like dating older men and then leaving them for cold, going for picnic, having fun in their home, or indulging in a grand feast; and the director presented their antics through audacious experimentations with everything ranging from fractured narrative progression to psychedelic montages to jawdropping special-effects for its time (and budget, too). But, for all its nonsense exterior and disorienting imagery, it was a scathing attack against order, control, discipline and regimentation. Its rebellious protagonists and freewheeling spirit were essentially an allegorical but brazen denunciation by the director of the then regressive regimen behind the Iron Curtain and its thought police.
Director: Vera Chytilova
Genre: Comedy/Black Comedy/Political Satire/Social Satire/Avant-Garde/Experimental Film
Country: Czech Republic (erstwhile Czechoslovakia)