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Daisies + Meshes of the Afternoon film image, two women drinking

Daisies

+ Meshes of the Afternoon

Sedmikrásky

Pantheon

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Although there were important women directors in the silent era, notably in the United States and in France, opportunities became scarce as cinema became industrialized. In this programme, we highlight two exceptional artists, pioneers in feminist filmmaking.

Born in what is now Ukraine, in 1917, but brought up in the USA, Maya Deren is best known for her surrealist 14 minute short Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), an extraordinary piece of avant garde filmmaking which prefigures the work of Kenneth Anger, David Lynch and many others. Meshes of the Afternoon was voted the 16th greatest film of all time in Sight & Sound’s poll of film critics and scholars in 2022.

Věra Chytilová (born 1929) was the first woman to study directing at the famous Czech film school FAMU. She made her first feature in 1963, Something Different, and then the radically confrontational Daisies, which was promptly banned in her home country. In the Sight & Sound poll, Daisies was voted =28th.

Sunday’s Pantheon screening will be preceded by a 15 minute introductory lecture and feature a book club-style discussion afterwards.

Surely one of the most exhilarating stylistic and psychedelic cinematic explosions of the 1960s, Daisies is a madcap and aggressive feminist farce that explodes in any number of directions. Although many American and Western European filmmakers during this period prided themselves on their subversiveness, it is possible that the most radical film of the decade, ideologically as well as formally, came from the East— from the liberating ferment building toward the short-lived political reforms of 1968s’s Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia.

Featuring two uninhibited 17-year-olds name Marie (Jitka Cerhova and Ivana Karbanova) — whose various escapades, which add up less to a plot than to a string of outrageous set pieces, include several antiphallic gags, a penchant for exploiting dirty old men, and a free-for-all with fancy food that got Chytilova in trouble with the authorities. This disturbing yet liberating tour-de-force shows what this talented director can do with freedom. A major influence on Jacques Rivette’s Celine and Julie Go Boating, Daisies is chock-full of female giggling, which might be interpreted in context as what Ruby Rich has called “the laughter of the Medusa”: Subversive, bracing, energizing, and rather off-putting (if challenging) to most male spectators.

Jonathan Rosenbaum, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Daisies is as subversive as it is hilarious.

Kate Muir, The Times

Brace yourself for some of the most exuberant and disjunctive Pop Art imagery ever put onscreen.

David Edelstein, New York Magazine

 

Presented by

Director

Vera Chytilova

Cast

Jitka Cerhova, Ivana Karbonava

Credits
Country of Origin

Czechoslovakia

Year

1966

Language

In Czech with English subtitles

19+
76 min

Book Tickets

Sunday May 19

11:00 am
Guests/Q&As Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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Tuesday May 21

5:50 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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Credits

Screenwriter

Ester Krumbachová, Věra Chytilová

Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Cinematography

Jaroslav Kučera

Original Music

Jiří Šust, Jiří Šlitr

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