DAISIES (15) 1966, Czechoslovakia, 76mins, director: Věra Chytilová.
(Czech with English subtitles).

A satirical, wild and irreverent story of rebellion, Věra Chytilová’s classic of surrealist cinema is perhaps also the most adventurous and anarchic Czech movie of the 1960s. Two young women, both named Marie, revolt against a degenerate, decayed and oppressive society, attacking symbols of wealth and bourgeois culture. Defiant feminist statement? Nihilistic, avant-garde comedy? It remains a cinematic enigma and its influence is still felt today – from the extreme Baise-Moi to the mainstream Thelma & Louise and in the films of (amongst others) Jacques Rivette, Bertrand Blier, Catherine Breillat and Gregg Araki. A riotous, punk-rock poem of a film that is both hilarious and mind-warpingly innovative, Daisies continues to provoke, stimulate and entertain.

‘Under the Soviet-controlled Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, all art was subject to a hostile environment, with paternalistic censors having the final say. Thus Daisies takes on a subversive character, necessarily avoiding direct criticism of the authorities. Nevertheless, the film was largely criticised and censured on its release, banned from theatres and export. Daisies is remembered today as an important film of the Czech New Wave, emblematic of the technical surreality and comic, subversive attitude that flourished under a strict regime. Other key films of the movement include Closely Watched Trains (1966 – Jiří Menzel) and The Firemens Ball (1967 – Miloš Forman)’ Keith Turbo