DAISIES (1966) – The Dungeon Review!
The bloody brilliant bat-shit crazy Daisies is unlike anything I have ever seen! Daisies was banned by the Czech authorities whose primary issue was with the film’s food wastage. Director Vera Chytilová was forbidden to work in Czechoslovakia until 1975. Daisies is an anarchistic feminist romp full of excess and destruction and admittedly a lot of food does get wasted. The gals spend their time convincing sugar daddies to buy them meals, sunbathing, cutting each other up with scissors, getting drunk and consuming ghastly amounts of food among other activities. The adventures of Marie and Marie are hi-jinx of the highest order! Chytilová created a visual extravaganza that is truly a masterpiece.
Every single frame of Daisies is beautiful and perfect. Chytilová keeps every minute of the constantly changing visuals interesting. The film changes color tints several times in a segment. There are scenes filmed in black and white and others that are boldly colorful. The Marie’s endless wardrobe becomes part of the environment. Sped up, slowed down, quick cuts, overlaps and countless other techniques are used. The sets and props are unbelievable. Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová are extremely watchable as Marie and Marie. Neither woman was actually an actress but they are both so natural and appealing. Their antics and machine gun giggles pleased me immensely! The film is a gleeful delight but there is a little dark mixed in with the fun. The ending is decidedly cynical. The special features stated that Chytilová wasn’t intending to make a feminist film. Intended or not the film portrays two very bold and spirited women who clearly believe they are looked upon as objects and engage in unladylike behavior (or at least what I would suspect would be deemed as unladylike behavior in 1966 Czechoslovakia). In one scene the two Maries cut up a series of penis shaped objects. I suppose one could argue that the two Marie’s food choices were completely random. Vera Chytilová obviously has plenty to say and she does so with a ton of imagination. Daisies is beautiful, funny and timeless. Nothing I could say would do Ms. Chytilová’s visuals justice so I included a ton of pictures. You should also check out my two slideshows with music from the film; Jiří Šlitr & Jiří Šust’s Cuckoos and Eva Pilerova’s Drunken Disorderlies. And I created a series of GIFs that I’ll be posting tomorrow. Daisies is one of the best films I have ever seen! It is a film that I will watch over and over again. While everyone may not appreciate Daisies on the same excessive level I do, you can not deny its innovation and masterfulness. Anyone interested in film should see Daisies.
Two brazen young women contemplate their roles in the world; agreeing the world is spoiled the two embark on a series of misadventures. This is Daisies opening dialog:
“I’m like a doll aren’t I?”
“I’m a doll.”
“Do you understand that?”
“Nobody understands anything.”
“It’s us they don’t understand.”
Daisies’ opening credits play over war footage before we are introduced to the Maries. The sunbathing Marie’s move like robots through this black and white segment.
Marie and Marie spend a good deal of the film eating. The girls convince several older men to take them to a fancy restaurant where they gorge themselves voraciously. The men always seem to be on their way to board a train.
One of their sugar daddies is particularly teary eyed over their parting.
“We must come up with something better.” They openly mock the foolishness of the weak-willed men.
Marie entertains a seriously smitten butterfly collector. “You’re from another century.” Marie feigns shyness as she covers her nakedness with her suitor’s butterfly displays.
The Maries applying a hearty amount of eye makeup.
Chytilová incorporates the Marie’s wardrobe into the films esthetics. This series of shots has a particularly pleasing color palette. One Marie wears a blue dress and the other a green dress. Chytilová shoots blue dress Marie on a green background and green dress Marie on a blue background.
One of Daisies niftiest scene sees the Maries cutting each other up with scissors. One Marie cuts off the other’s arm who in turn cuts off the other’s head. A headless Marie than removes the other Marie’s head. Did you get all that? Just see the damn film! The scene finishes with a sped up collage of cut up Marie fragments.
The Maries take a ride in a dumb-waiter and find a hidden treasure!
A huge dining room has been set up with a monstrous banquet. Marie admires a food sculpture before the two gluttonously gorge themselves on the buffet.
The Maries really love eating!
After feasting Marie fashions a curtain into a frock and dances on the table. They could use the exercise after all that eating!
Marie and Marie Swinging in the dining room’s chandelier.
The Maries feel remorse over the wanton destruction they unleashed on the dining room. Wrapped in newspaper and string they return to the scene of the crime to make things right….sort of. “That was quite a job wasn’t it?”
A cynical ending to the girl’s adventures seemed fitting. The Marie’s contemplate being happy. “Are we pretending?” Marie asks. “No.” Marie replies. “After all, we are really happy.”
Like every single aspect of Daisies the ending could not have been more perfect. The film concludes with the following: “This film is dedicated to those who get upset only over a stomped-upon bed of lettuce.”
Dungeon Rating: 5/5
Directed By: Vera Chytilová
Starring: Ivana Karbanová & Jitka Cerhová