Sunday, 16 December 2018

Daisies (Sedmikrasky) (1966)

The sixties do seem to be the decade of experimentation. Here is another experimental movie, this time a Czech one, and so I get the usual, difficult task of working out what I have just been watching.

This time I was reasonably happy with the beginning of the movie. It did not make much sense, but there was something fun and happy about it that had to make me happy as well. Unfortunately, this did not last. The happiness wears off and is replaced by annoyance. Annoyance because these girls not only appear stupid but also completely nihilistic and this is…fun?

Over the course of the movie the two girls (Blond and Red, because I have no idea what they are called) go out of their way to annoy people. They sabotage a Charleston show in a restaurant. They go on dates with older men, make scenes in the restaurant and then dump them on trains. For the grand finale they crash a dinner party before the guests arrive and trash it all, food, plates, decoration, all is lost so these girls can have some fun.

This seems to be the purpose for the two girls. In a movie with no actual plot and no storyline, Red and Blond have no other agenda than doing what they feel like in the moment and they do that with a childlike glee. It does not matter if it is cutting up the bed or terrorizing other people. It seems to all be for kicks.

Obviously, when we are talking art or experimental movies, there are deeper stories than the apparent one. Here I am at a loss. I simply do not know what that deeper story is. I can guess, though, and somethings are not too difficult. At one point the girls are cutting sausages up while they are talking with one of the ditched men on the phone. It is not difficult to guess that they are symbolically cutting up his genitalia. With a smile of course.

Another potential meaning is political, this being shortly before the “spring in Prague”. Exactly how to read that though I do not know. Ruining everything pleasurable was a habit of the communist party, so maybe there is a clue there. Acting with silly abandon could be reflect a poorly led country. Maybe.

Or maybe we are just supposed to be convinced that acting as if there are no consequences or pricetag is very annoying and offers no long-term reward, even when done by two sweet girls.

There is a lot of nice filming with vibrant colors and fast montages. There is some interesting editing and color filter choices and the soundscape is inventive too.

Ultimately however, it does not change the end result: general annoyance. Silly girls ruining things for other people has a very short shelf life.

If you intend to watch this you can stick to the first 10 minutes. That is enough to get the picture. Beyond that I would not recommend this movie.