Sedmikrasky (Daisies)

If you’re waiting for part three of our Pukkelpop review, you’ll need to have a bit more patience. It’s time for an interlude: two reviews of movies with a connection to the festival. Coming up in part two: the movie that inspired a band looking for a good name, it’s Creature With The Atom Brain. First though, we return to Thursday night in the Marquee: Mercury Rev were prepping the audience with a visual treat. A two-minute long scene from the cult classic Daisies. Which reminded us: high time for a review.

Daisies is called Sedmikrasky in its original Czech language. The movie was directed by Vera Chytilov√° in 1966 and was part of the Czech New Wave. The movie features two young girls, Marie I and Marie II (though you could do without their names), sitting in their bikinis soaking up some sun, but doing nothing. Not only are they bored, they have no plans and come to a shattering conclusion: “Everything’s going bad in this world. You know what? If everything’s going bad… we’re going bad as well.”

And so it begins… two young girls roaming through the city, being mischevous where and when they can. Don’t expect them to be sensitive. From time to time one Marie will ask the other if she minds. The answer is no. It should be no. Yes would show goodness and weren’t they supposed to be bad girls?

Some are questioning now how come this movie was called a feministic film. Surely, the depiction of these morally depraved girls (and, judging by the incredible amount of phonenumbers on their wall, I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t hesitate to label them sluts) is the complete opposite of what a feminist should be. Well, don’t forget the film was made in 1966, at a time when it was even difficult for the actresses in television shows to be independent. Surely, we know how independent Catherine Gale and Emma Peel were in The Avengers, but BBC’s concurrent Adam Adamant (and his servant) told their female ally Georgina Jones on a weekly basis crime should be solved by men. Yes, Miss Jones was a highly fashionable Carnaby Street chick, but she often had to go home because “this is no place for female eyes”. Not that she ever listened, but it often led to her ending up in the hands of the enemy. Meanwhile, over on the other channel, Mrs Peel was kicking ass. Whereas most female characters in movies had to be content with looking admiringly at the male hero, the two young Maries dared to take their lives in their own hands and be bad, quite bad. The way girls shouldn’t behave.

So the girls take up the habit of dining with old men, having the men pay for their food, accompanying them to the station, but jumping off the train when it departs. Do they mind? Of course not. Nor do they mind breaking into a room ready for a banquet. So much food and noone to watch them… ooh, I wonder how that’ll end… (watch clip)

And if you don’t want to believe the movie has feminist undertones, watch how the road to ruin leads the girls to the final scene. What future do the girls have? We’re given two versions, both not exactly too great for the girls.

The movie is as whimsical as the two girls. Sometimes the colours change rapidly throughout a scene, sometimes the girls’ movements (as in the first clip) are accompanied by odd sounds. Sedmikrasky is an odd little film. You’ll like the film as much as you’ll like the Maries: sometimes you’ll adore them (and the film), sometimes you want to strangle the girls (and kill the film). By all means an achievement and something everyone who calls himself/herself a film enthusiast should’ve watched at least once. If not, I’ll send Marie and Marie after you.

Film: 9/10

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