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Spoiled in a Spoiled World: The Feminist Chaos of ‘Daisies’

“I’m like a doll, aren’t you? I’m a doll.”
Daisies feminist
Criterion Collection
By  · Published on April 2nd, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about the rebellious feminist vision of 1966’s Daisies.

Look: sometimes, the best way to stick it to the man is through a series of increasingly chaotic farcical vignettes.

Or at least that’s the premise behind Vera Chytilová’s 1966 film DaisiesIn the film, two young women (both named Marie), see the wretchedness of the world and decide to become wretched themselves. What ensues is a string of anarchic fun and free-spirited action as the two Maries resolve to take nothing seriously, be it war, food, clothes, or men. But especially men.

Chytilová’s riotous opus is simultaneously nonsensical and profound. The two Maries reject what their society expects of them: pranking would-be suitors, trampling food, and tearing up restrictive lingerie (as well as their own bodies). Even the film itself shuns convention: overturning established rules of cinema in a prescient move of pre-punk absurdism.

In this way, Daisies is both aesthetically and politically rebellious. So much so that, despite (or rather, because) of its influential contribution to feminist cinema, after its release, the then-communist Czech government suppressed the hell out of it. For its wanton audacity, the film was pulled from all major cinemas, finally being banned outright for several years. Chytilova herself was not allowed to make another film in her native country until 1975.

Despite the Soviet government’s best efforts, Daisies persists to this day as a chaotic delight. As the video essay below underlines, it is a marvelous romp of excess and disobedience: a dreamy vision of two women refusing to go along with men and the world men have created.

Watch “Daisies (1966) – The Impact Of Feminist Rebellion“:

Who made this?

You Have Been Watching Films is produced by United Kingdom-based writer Oliver Bagshaw. The channel provides video essays on an assortment of films including examples from cult, documentary, experimental, and classic strains of cinema history. You can subscribe to their YouTube channel here. And you can follow them on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).