This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (December 2018)
|Directed by||Věra Chytilová|
|Produced by||Rudolf Hájek|
|Screenplay by||Věra Chytilová|
|Story by||Věra Chytilová|
|Music by||Jiří Šlitr|
|Edited by||Miroslav Hájek|
|Distributed by||Ustredni Pujcovna Filmu (ukraine)|
Sigma III, Corp. (US)
Daisies (Czech: Sedmikrásky) is a 1966 Czechoslovak comedy-drama film written and directed by Věra Chytilová. Generally regarded as a milestone of the Nová Vlna movement, it was made with the support of a state-sponsored film studio and follows two teenage girls (played by Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová), both named Marie, who engage in strange pranks.
Innovatively filmed, and released two years before the Prague Spring, the film was labeled as "depicting the wanton" by the Czech authorities and banned. Director Chytilová was forbidden to work in her homeland until 1975. The film received the prestigious Grand Prix of the Belgian Film Critics Association.
Themes and style
Throughout the film, the two main characters muse about youth, happiness, existence, and the state of being spoiled. The film has very little in the way of plot structure, and scenes proceed from one to the next chaotically, frequently switching between black and white, color, and false color footage. Many scenes include elements of slapstick, and the characters spend a significant amount of the film eating or playing with food.
The opening sequence is that of a spinning flywheel with shots of airplanes strafing the ground. The shots of the airplanes are from US Navy footage shot in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. The first scene shows the two main characters sitting in bathing suits. Their conversation is robotic and from that point on they decide to be bad. The next scene shows Marie I and Marie II dancing in front of a tree. The tree has many fruits and resembles the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Once Marie I eats from the tree, they both fall and appear in their apartment. Marie II attempts suicide by filling the room with gas, but fails because she left the window open.
In an extended sequence of scenes, the girls go on dates with a series of older men. In each scene, the girls cavort and eat lots of food while mocking their date, who is driven to the end of his patience, at which point the girls say that they are late for a train, and then ditch the man at the train station.
The girls eventually go to a nightclub with 1920s-style dancers and cause a ruckus. Marie II also goes to the apartment of a man who is a butterfly collector. In this scene, there are a lot of butterflies shown as still frames. The man repeatedly declares his love to Marie II, whom he calls Julie. At the end, she says that she wants to eat. In later scenes, the two girls lounge about in various rooms while listening to their suitors profess love for them over the phone. These scenes are accompanied by footage of the girls destroying phallic food, as well as eggs.
At one point, the girls meet an older woman, who begs them to stay for a bit, and remarks on how she misses her youth. The girls wait for her to step out, then rob her and leave, after which they philosophize about their actions.
Later on, they go to a factory. There are still frames of locks, and the building looks run down. They look for "nourishment" and stumble upon a feast. They eat the food, make a mess and destroy the room. They destroy a chandelier, and the film cuts to them being dunked in water like witches, as the director states how there can be no "clean resolution" to the destructive dinner. The Maries return to the dining room, and attempt to clean the room while whispering about being good and hardworking, and that this will make them happy.
The film closes with war footage similar to the beginning, and ends with an epigraph that the film is "dedicated to those who get upset only over a stomped-upon bed of lettuce".
- Jitka Cerhová as Marie I
- Ivana Karbanová as Marie II
- Marie Češková
- Jiřina Myšková
- Marcela Březinová
- Julius Albert as Man About Town
- Dr. Oldrich Hora
- Jan Klusák
- Josef Konicek
- Jaromír Vomácka
- V. Mysková