Known for her playful and experimental style, director Věra Chytilová puts together a kaleidoscopic world in this iconic Czech New Wave film—a surrealist rebuke of the oppressive times. The film starts with black-and-white historic images of war, as the two main characters takes center stage in their swimsuits. Like a pair of marionettes that has lost their souls, they capriciously decide that the world is “spoiled” and their response is to turn the world upside down with their mischievous ways. Its surprise mix of food, butterflies, human bodies, and flowers is an aesthetic feast that may seem nonsensical at first glance, but its sharp critique on patriarchy and authoritarianism is crystal clear. Daisies is an unstoppable revolutionary march that has never ceased to be funny.
Věra Chytilová was born in 1929 in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia. Prior to her enrolment at FAMU in 1957, she studied philosophy and architecture, as well as working as a model and a clapper girl. After her graduation, she worked on her debut feature, Something Different (1963) in which her signature experimental style already shines through. Daisies (1966), with its avant-garde surrealism and anarchist approach, was released to international acclaim. It did not, however, stop the censorship from the authority on the ground of ‘food wastage’. Unlike her peers, she stayed in Prague after the Soviet Invasion but was imposed a directorial ban until it was lifted in 1975. She made a delightful return with The Apple Game the year after and has since continued her directing career in her home country until her death in 2014. Best known for her fervent innovation and aesthetic audacity, Chytilová was a formidable force not only in the Czech New Wave, but also the feminist cinema.