Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

Daisies

Written by Jesse Sposato
The first thought I had after watching this film was, I can’t believe I didn’t see this sooner. The next thought: HOLY AMAZINGNESS! Vera Chytilová’s Czech film from 1966, Daisies, is like if I told someone everything I dreamed about and all the ways I wanted to think of the world, and then he or she put these tales in a blender and out came two adorable adolescent girls—both named Marie—prancing around on screen like the world is their Candy Land. The movie starts out with the Maries, one blonde and one brunette, looking cute as hell in bikinis, giggling and having a blast just being young. The girls eventually trade their bathing suits in for stylish dresses and their party continues like this throughout the rest of the film while they pull pickles from their bedside to eat and get kicked out of bars for stealing other people’s drinks.

The first thought I had after watching this film was, I can’t believe I didn’t see this sooner. The next thought: HOLY AMAZINGNESS! Vera Chytilová’s Czech film from 1966, Daisies, is like if I told someone everything I dreamed about and all the ways I wanted to think of the world, and then he or she put these tales in a blender and out came two adorable adolescent girls—both named Marie—prancing around on screen like the world is their Candy Land. The movie starts out with the Maries, one blonde and one brunette, looking cute as hell in bikinis, giggling and having a blast just being young. The girls eventually trade their bathing suits in for stylish dresses and their party continues like this throughout the rest of the film while they pull pickles from their bedside to eat and get kicked out of bars for stealing other people’s drinks.

Pieced together in segments that cut briefly from one to the next, this movie doesn’t seem to really be about anything except portraying the dreamy and exclusive world of girl friendship, and perhaps the overall detachment of youth. But, despite the lack of “real” plot, there are repetitive themes, like, “the world has gone bad and so maybe we’re bad too!?” What does this mean exactly? The “bad world” is a reference to communist government and the stifling backlash it creates, bogging down society’s individuals.

And it’s no coincidence that these are girls carrying out this message…the logo printed on the film’s cover reads, “A Mad-Cap Feminist Farce,” and that’s just what it is. The girls’ rebellion, in addition to being an ‘f-you’ to communism and consumerism, is also a clear attack on the patriarchal, male dominated society they live in. Their response is to revel in their youth by going on dates with much older men—together—luring them in and then tossing them aside. Not because they’re cruel, but simply because they’re busy—busy undermining the social order of things, while having the ultimate time of their teenage girl lives.

As nonchalant and over-it as the girls act, they eventually reveal that behind their fabulousness, their motivation to attract men is stronger than they’d like to let on. A scene where they go unnoticed by a whole town full of men results in the fear that if men aren’t turning their heads, the girls might have stopped being real—maybe suddenly no one can see them anymore. Their doubt is put to rest when they finally manage to convince one another that, in fact, they are real. Ecstatic at their own discovery, they dance around singing an impromptu tune that consists of only two words over and over: “We exist!”

The Maries confirm every guy’s fantasy about the way girls act with each other behind closed doors, though multiplied a few thousand times and intercepted with trippy images of ‘60s plaid, pop and butterflies. One of the most memorable scenes is when the girls stumble upon a table filled with delicious food in an otherwise empty banquet hall. Soon, they’re pigging-out-to-the-max, using their hands as utensils (surely a mockery of consumerism), dancing on top of the table and resetting it neatly with broken dishes. Their demise comes suddenly when a chandelier falls on top of them, crushing them and ending what seems like their never-ending journey of fun.

Rather than mourn the early death of these wondrous teens, you can believe—even if you’ve never believed (in after-life) before—that Marie and Marie will surely dance and giggle their way through whatever comes next.

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