Movie Mondays: Safer at Home Edition | DAISIES

With regular SFTV programs and events suspended through the end of the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Movie Mondays program is moving from the Mayer Theater to the world wide web. Each Monday from now through the end of the school year, SFTV’s Manager of Programs and Special Events Alice Royer will provide a film recommendation that you can stream at home, and highlight resources and platforms where you can find some of the best cinema the internet has to offer. 

Welcome to Movie Mondays: Safer at Home Edition! The SFTV Community is doing its part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by learning and working remotely and staying home as much as possible. Luckily for film students, there’s never been a better time to be a homebound cinephile!

Our first recommendation, Daisies (Věra Chytilová,1966), is a perfect film for our purposes here: it’s zany and fun to keep your spirits up in these troubled times, while also being formally adventurous enough to expand your cinematic horizons and provide food for thought as you envision your next project. Often described as the most anarchic film to come out of the Czech New Wave, Daisies is the third feature by that movement’s sole female director, Věra Chytilová. You can stream Daisies for free on Kanopy, a free streaming service available through our Library’s website when you log in with your LMU credentials. (More on Kanopy below.)

DAISIES - Movie Mondays: Safer at Home Edition | DAISIES

The film follows, with kaleidoscopic fervor, two young women (both named Marie) as they cavort around Prague playing pranks on unsuspecting dates and generally wreaking gleeful havoc. 

In a series of loosely connected narrative fragments (a structure mirrored at the formal level with innovative collage work and other effects Chytilová and her team developed specially for the film), the Maries dupe men into buying them expensive meals, take over a nightclub performance and turn a banquet into an all-out food fight, among other hijinks. 

Despite positive responses from audiences at the time, the protagonists’ exploits were considered too debauched by state officials in then-Soviet Czechoslovakia, who banned the film shortly after its release. Today, the powerful critique of normative gender roles that the Maries represent, along with its exhilarating formal experiments, has earned Chytilová’s film a spot in the pantheon of feminist cinema. So while you’re stuck at home, let the Maries’ infectious energy bring you a bit of joy, and perhaps inspire you to find innovative ways to respond to social ills, two things we could all probably use a bit of help with these days. 

Once you’re done watching this film, it’s worth exploring other titles available on Kanopy, a service available exclusively via universities and public libraries. On it you’ll find some of the best art cinema, documentaries, and independent films available to stream anywhere. Selections vary by institution, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try logging in with your local public library credentials as well to see what other gems you might find.