I’m a miserable bastard when it comes down to it but one film which will always make me a little giddy is Daisies. Věra Chytilová’s punk masterpiece is brimming with verve, creativity and panache. It also never fails to make me feel incredibly hungry. A genuine pioneer, she was one of the leading lights of Czech cinema and Daisies was its avant-garde jewel. She was rewarded for her efforts by censure, with the film being banned by the authorities for its depictions of wanton excess and waste. It remains a beautiful mystery.
Two young women (Ivana Karbanová and Jitka Cerhová) when faced with the boredom and ennui of life decide enough is enough. They take a good luck at the oppressive and decaying society which surrounds them and decide to revolt. In their desire for rebellion and search for nourishment they take advantage of a succession of rich older men to sate their hunger, make a spectacle of themselves in night clubs and crash a banquette.
Daisies is a riotous explosion of colour, chaos and confusion. Whilst many have tried, it’s impossible to decipher exactly what Chytilová was aiming for but it’s somewhere between anarchistic feminism, rambunctious social comedy and provocative gobbledygook. This new remastered version is almost painfully kaleidoscopic. Daisies remains the most inventive and ingenious film from the 1960s and still revels in its hedonistic and whimsical charm.
Special Edition Contents:
• Daisies (Sedmikrasky, 1966) presented from a new HD transfer from original materials by the Czech National Film Archive
• Audio Commentary by Daughters of Darkness’ Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger
• Audio Commentary by film historians Peter Hames and Daniel Bird
• Journey (Cesta, 2004): Jasmina Blaževič’s acclaimed documentary film portrait of director Věra Chytilová
• 20-page booklet featuring Peter Hames’ substantial essay on the film
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• Region Free Blu-ray
Daises is released on Blu-ray by Second Run DVD on 22 October.