One of the things I like about Hulu is their partnership with the Criterion Collection. To be able to watch their well-preserved classics for free is awesome (although I could do without the ten million commercials). Lately I've been pushing myself to just hit "play" on movies I don't know anything about; fighting my instinct to obsess over these decisions (Is it good enough? Am I in the right mood? Will I like it? Am I smart enough to appreciate it? ) until I give up and end up watching the same old movies over and over.
But enough about my neuroses. This is how I ended up watching Vera Chytilova's 1966 Czech New Wave film Daisies last week. It was featured on Hulu's front page selections, and based on the image I saw, I just clicked play.
OH MY GOD.
I can't say enough about what a visual feast it was, literally and figuratively--it was banned in its native Czechoslovakia for food wastage (but really for being awesome and subversive and feminist and crazy)! Basically, it's about two young girls named Marie who decide they're going to stop behaving like ladies and thusly embark upon their new life running around, pulling pranks on old men, lolling on beds in bikinis, cutting out paper dolls, and raising hell in the most delicious psychedelic way.
Like many films I enjoy, I'm not sure that Daisies is good. It's pretty silly in that existential trying-very-hard-to-be-deep New Wave way, the constant jump cuts are annoying by today's standards, and it doesn't have much of a linear plot to speak of, but those things are negotiable when your eyes are bugging out over the Maries ultra-mod baby doll outfits and their bohemian apartment. It's like nothing I've ever seen before and held my attention where other art films couldn't.
Usually my housemate and love of my life has little use for this kind of arty stuff, but even he couldn't tear his eyes away from the Maries antics! It's truly riveting, and each scene is more beautiful/insane than the last. I don't love to use the word "sensual," but that's what Daisies is from start to finish. None of these pictures do it justice to its lushness. You just have to watch it.
366 Weird Movies has a nice review of Daisies if you want more details on this delightful, surprising, one-of-a-kind piece of cinema, and if you fall in love with the Maries, here are some paper dolls that you can cut out and use to create your own anarchist dreams! Also, here's a trailer: