Věra Chytilová

It. tit.: Le margheritine. T. int.: Daisies. Sog.: Věra Chytilová, Pavel Juráček. Scen.: Věra Chytilová, Ester Krumbachová. F.: Jaroslav Kučera. M.: Miroslav Hájek. Scgf.: Karel Lier. Mus.: Jiří Šust, Jiří Šlitr. Int.: Jitka Cerhová (Marie I), Ivana Karbanová (Marie II), Julius Albert (the old worldly man), Jan Klusák (the young worldly man), Marie Češková, Jiřina Myšková, Marcela Březinová, Oldřich Hora, Václav Chochola, Josef Koníček, Jaromír Vomáčka. Prod.: Filmové studio Barrandov. Pri. pro.: 30 dicembre 1966. 35mm. D.: 75’. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The story of two Marys is a metaphor about destructive human nature, universally applied to modern civilisation, specifically to the Communist system. The girls, cheerful, sad-faced little demolishers exerting a pillaging force, carry a satirical testimony about the contemporary crisis of values and a grotesquely deformed view of the future. One brunette, one blonde, they are interchangeable in their public appearances. The maniacal havoc they cause is presented with sophisticated taste and playful aesthetics to set up a contrast between documentary images and truly uncivilized manifestations of the modern world. Their agenda of total destruction results from boredom and the desire for change. The girls exclusively value a world of absolute freedom and imagination, with no scruples attached. Director Veˇra Chytilová deliberately refuses to spare her protagonists, and literally tears to pieces their male counterparts. The author respects only true feelings, true work. Chytilová, as an intellectually creative person, uses aggressive irony with a moralizing punch line. Her dramatic vision would not work without talented collaborators: Pavel Jurácˇek, cocreator of the story, Ester Krumbachová, co-screenwriter, costume designer and art director, and Jaroslav Kucˇera, director of photography. Kucˇera’s vision alternates black-and-white, color and toned images, while the editing draws on the principles of intellectual montage, the montage of attractions and visual collage. The accompanying music ironizes and partially patheticizes the action. 1960s critics failed to discover a passionate desire to make things right in Chytilová’s pessimism, and in 1966, after an intervention of 21 parliamentary deputies, the film was withdrawn from theatrical release for its so-called nihilistic message, although it was re-released the following year. The insane story provided the public with both an extraordinary artistic experience as well as an intentional moral hangover, and the film surprisingly remained in art houses even during the ‘normalization’ period as a rare island of free thinking.

Briana Cˇechová