English Title: Daisies
Original Title: Sedmikrásky
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Vera Chytilová
Cinematography: Jaroslav Kucera
An avant-garde think piece from the late Mrs. Vera Chytilová (1929-2014), a spearhead figure emerges from Czech New Wave in the 60s, and keeps working consistently and domestically until her late age, DAISIES is her second feature with an economic length of 76 minutes, perhaps still remains as her most well-known work in her filmography.
A whimsical, outlandish and provocative escapade about two young girls, both named Marie, Marie I (Cerhová), is a black-haired, Bardot-ish seducer and Maire II (Karbanová) is a blonde gamine, devilishly chic. Introduced by a robotic conversation between them, they decide to conduct a decadent lifestyle since the world has sunk to corruption and debauchery.
Under Chytilová’s unorthodox enforcement of cinematic tricks, the shots are immensely hyperactive, montages-laden with unexpected color-variations, fluidity and image-composition, and the two girls’ follies become ever-enchanting, as audience’s attention jumps from one scenario to another, they indulge in fine food and let some wealthy man-about-towns pay the bill, then swindle them to board the train on the pretence of going away with them before backtracking in the last minute (it works both ways, they leave with the train while the patron unfortunately misses the train). Occasionally, they snitch money and disturb a pas de deux in a club, revel in their own frolic bravado before being dragging out by the guard.
When they are alone in their apartment, food and playfulness continues to running rampant, young suitors’ romantic courtships cannot compete with a luxurious milk bath garnished with some raw eggs. A fantastic sleight of hand stuns when they shear each other to smithereens then the fragments being re-arranged into a knowingly comical presence like a misplaced puzzle. Their insatiable gluttony will reach the zenith in the sumptuous episode, where they single-handedly wreak havoc on a lavish banquet, an unapologetic manifesto to ram home epicurism to its dumbfounded spectators.
In the coda, the two girls are granted a second chance to redeem their wanton acts, but Chytilová will not risk anything to foil her mischievously nonconformist endeavour. In one word, DAISIES’ enduring allure lies in its radical Dadaism style and Chytilová’s full liberation of her whimsy and artisanship. A fine piece of art can evince a wonderful change from the offerings of cinema’s conventional product line, as it manifests in the end, the film is dedicated to those whose spiritual life has descended into completely chaos.