Daisies Screen 18 articles

Daisies

1966

Daisies Poster
  • My favorite Czech film, one of the most exhilarating stylistic and psychedelic explosions of the 1960s, is Vera Chytilová’s highly aggressive feminist farce Daisies, which erupts in all directions. At any given moment, shots can switch from luscious color to black-and-white to sepia to a rainbow succession of color filters, shatter into shards like broken glass, rattle through rapid-fire montages like machine-gun volleys, and leap freely between time frames and locations.

  • From Czechoslovakia just prior to its brief experiment in ‘socialism with a human face’, there is the extraordinary formalism of Vera Chytilova’s 1966 film Daisies: one of the most stunning profusions of effects, colours, jarring techniques in cinematic history, a film utterly in love with its own aimless exuberance.

  • It manages to be both visceral and abstract, playful and savage, intellectual and infantile, all at once... The film as a whole is a relentless assault — against film conventions and forms and indeed cinema itself, against social norms and rules and indeed society itself, and finally against the spectator. This assault is violently nihilistic, but it is also utterly joyous and gleeful: an explosion of affect, in which I share as I watch.

  • on one level Daisies is a highly structured film. In telling its story of two girls who – in the face of a spoiled world, decide to “go bad” – it utilises a formal logic of repetition to successfully destroy narrative and the psychological development of character... Any stability suggested by the formal structure of the film is, however, simultaneously undermined by other disruptive formal cinematographic strategies.

  • It's the kind of film that just sweeps one along in its antic merriment. The eye-popping cinematography and editing of Jaroslav Kucera and Miroslav Hájek, respectively, are a dazzling array of color, super-quick cutting, and strong close-ups that envelop the viewer in the detail of the moment.

  • It is Chytilová’s 1966 Daisies that is her most frequently discussed work to this day, a madcap, Dadaist explosion of a movie that represents the Czech New Wave at its most formally radical and kookily captivating... Chytilová ensures that something unexpected occurs in virtually every shot and edit, juxtaposing images with dissonant sounds, abruptly changing color filters within scenes, and fragmenting many sequences through unmotivated montage.

  • A feminist polemic par excellence, a formally radical, surrealistic classic, a kind of twee Thelma & Louise, Daisies remains a touchstone, transcending genre tags and any sort of definable labels. Like the rest of the film, the climatic food-fight sequence—which plays like Monty Python’s “Mr. Creosote” skit as directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini—is highly symbolic and teeming with anger, but Chytilová‘s infectious experimentation keeps the message and the medium on equally noteworthy ground.

  • Modern audiences who come to see this late-'60s gem will be rewarded with a wicked sex farce and daring surrealist cinematography. Where Jiří Menzel's Closely Watched Trains sparkled with similar wit, but was more firmly rooted in the high-modernist, absurdist tradition (the film was based on a novel by Czech prose master Bohumil Hrabal), the humor in Daisies is more oddball-eccentric, and its disjointed camerawork more willfully cinematic.

  • Matching the lunacy of her characters, the formal elements of Chytilová's movie also suggest liberating disorder. A riot of technical tricks, Daisies shifts between color, black-and-white, and tinted images and includes a scene in which the two Maries, wielding scissors, essentially turn themselves into paper dolls.

  • All manner of flora—along with Godardian color shifts, out-of-place sound effects, unexpected montages and anachronistic shooting styles—flourish in Daisies, a cherry bomb of Czech surrealism lobbed two years before the Prague Spring. Daisies remains a potent agit-freak-out—flower power laced with poison.

  • Věra Chytilová's films have earned her acolytes and enemies at an equal rate—particularly DAISIES, an anarchic, poetic, visually exhilarating film lacking in any affirmation whatsoever.

  • The Czech director Vera Chytilová’s second feature, “Daisies,” from 1966... is one of the great outpourings of cinematic invention in an age of over-all artistic liberation—and the revolutionary value of imagination is the film’s very subject.

  • Psychedelic sisterhood in the Eastern Bloc "like a message from another world," just about the most ticklish barrage of nihilism in cinema... The blur of Brecht and Sennett is similar to concurrent hellzapoppin’ visions (The Running Jumping and Standing Still Film, Hallelujah the Hills, Zazie dans le Métro), yet Vera Chytilová’s singular revue outdoes them by pushing its slapstick fragmentation beyond mere larkiness and towards an exhaustive dismantling of strictures both social and cinematic.

  • The playful, anything-goes experimentation of Daisies, with its psychedelic onslaught of coloured filters and fragmented editing, made it the most formally vibrant and daring film of the Czech New Wave.

  • There’s no doubt Chytilová’s deeply subversive work profoundly engaged with the intricacies of socialism... Daisies can be viewed as a critical conversation about the possibilities of politics, socialism, labour, feminism, love, sex and the relationship between genders within the conditions of socialism.

  • This is cinema at its most joyful and unfettered. Consider, for instance, the scene in Daisies in which a grey steel train track suddenly bursts with colour, its rails multiplying then merging again, its sleepers speeding away from the camera as if they were extras in a filmed futurist poem. Like so many of the beautiful moments in Daisies, it does not advance a narrative or argue a point – it is anarchy for its own sake.

  • It wasn't only the best experience that I had all year, but maybe the best film that I saw in 2016 for the first time. There was a sensual appeal to seeing the colors and the performances in the small room, hearing the projector noisily advancing through the reels, but also about the film itself and how in my mind it instantly made me think of, above all, the New Waves of Cinema and their relation to the Industry of Cinema.

  • Rapid-fire montages of padlocks and pinned butterflies punctuate this mishegoss . . . Scenes in black and white switch to vivid Eastmancolor, another brazen deviation from standard film syntax. Though Daisies may have bloomed from the context of the Czech New Wave, its unruly ethos has reverberated through the subsequent decades. Watching it now, it’s still unpredictable with its explosive burlesque of a narrative. It’s still filthy and feminine and fun.

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