Vera Chytilová’s incredible burst of cinematic rebellion, DAISIES (1966), deserves far more attention. As shocking and subversive as any film ever made, it arose from the creative and cultural explosion known as the Czech New Wave (Nova Vina) movement, a reaction to the oppressive Communist regime then in place. The movement flourished for a few short years before the Soviet invasion of 1968 brought new and devastating meaning to the word “oppressive.” Tied to this historical moment, linked after the fact to some nebulous concept of “feminism,” soaring gloriously above even the most freewheeling fantasies of French New Wave pathfinders Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, DAISIES can also be seen as a decadent doppelganger to that other groundbreaking work of 1960s female-centric cinema, Ingmar Bergman’s PERSONA (also 1966), but more accurately, it is kin to Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali’s monumental short surrealist shocker, UN CHIEN ANDALOU (1928), thwarting expectations at every turn and standing triumphantly as a one-of-a-kind work of art.
When Vera Chytilová completed her anarchic masterpiece DAISIES in 1966 it was banned from exhibition by the Czechoslovakian board of censors. They accused it of “depicting the wanton,” and therefore served as a danger to the country’s communist society. Chytilová was forbidden from making another film until 1975.