Marvelous Movie Mondays: Daisies

EPFC | May 20th, 2019

guest curator: Karen Azoulay

For the month of May, I will be posting a selection of films that are punctuated with floral and bomb imagery. Flowers can be used to remind us of vulnerability, mortality and the fleeting nature of time. This motif is paired with the brief and the sudden depiction of a bomb. A blooming mushroom cloud clearly evokes war, fear and death. Contextualizing the films within a specific historical moment and place, we cannot forget the political reality that each film was created in.

My third selection is ‘Daisies’, 1966, directed by Věra Chytilová

After a montage of explosions, we meet to two doll like young women. Since everything is going bad in the world, they decide that they are going to go bad too. Wearing an ironic “virginity” flower crown, one of the young women is slapped into a field of daisies and their surreal adventure ensues.

Delicate daisies, these women are not. Mischievous, giggling and greedy, these friends team up to tease and prank much older men who are trying to date them. This brazen attitude challenges stereotypes and critiques a male attitude towards sex. Chancing upon a massive banquet table piled high with delicacies, they take whatever they want. Trashing the spread, they dig up handfuls of cake, taste everything and even dance on the desserts.

This Czech New Wave film was created during a fraught time. It was banned upon its initial release, in part due to the depictions of wasted food. Only one year later, the Prague Spring brought a loosening of political and cultural restrictions. The new era of freedom ended later that same year due to a Soviet invasion. For the rest of her life, Chytilová was basically blacklisted from making films.