Vera Chytilova  

A classic female new-wave Czech director that released a couple of unconventionally challenging and classic films of the period and is still best known for Daisies. Her films from this period use abstract behaviour and characters, and heavy surreal symbolism with an emphasis on the feminine point of view, as well as pioneering experiments with colors and cinematography (through her husband). She was banned from film-making for a decade during the Russian invasion then returned with more conventional, often satirical movies. Died in 2014.

Of Some Interest

Scenes of mass destruction in war footage mixed with an image of an industrial machine, then two petulant young virginal women (their bodies moving accompanied with creaking puppet noises) decide that the world is bad and therefore they should be bad as well. Thus starts this classic, intriguing but uneven Czech movie, leading to an hour of anarchical shenanigans from two annoyingly acted women, mixed with extremely colorful and fun experimental imagery, and surreal symbolic scenes. They get older men to take them to restaurants then strand them on a train, get drunk and go wild at a night club, make fun of men who fall in love with them while cutting up phallic food with their scissors, etc. all statements of capitalism, depraved society and constant abuse of food leading to destruction and wanton behaviour (a local hard-working farmer doesn't even notice them). In one scene, they non-gorily slice each other up like paper cuttings in a scissor frenzy. The film employs Dadaistic politics of anti-war and artistic anarchy but not the offensive anti-aesthetics. At times interesting, colorful fun, or annoying.

Fruit of Paradise  
An avant-garde, symbolic fable on dangerous knowledge based on a simplistic interpretation of Adam and Eve. A married, happy couple stays in a resort, but their lives are soon shaken by an eccentric stranger. The wife is seduced by him, but her eyes are soon opened to horrible truths such as her possibly cheating husband and that the stranger may be a serial killer. An extended symbolic struggle between the three people ensues, with truthful keys being dropped, swamps standing for danger, balls, scarves, dresses and ink all in red appearing during awakenings and revelations, a statue of an angel is thrown and broken, etc. The occasional strange dialogue and stagy poses are heavy with meaning, and colors, lenses and other effects are used to artistic effect. The cinematography is very interesting as is the unusual avant-garde soundtrack, but the movie tends to wander. Lovers of Fando and Lis should enjoy this.

Pearls of the Deep  
An anthology of five absurd shorts from the forefront of the Czech new-wave with the typically gritty, earthy, hard-edged cinematography and editing. Chytilova's short is the most avant-garde, involving a free-form confusing scene of a restaurant turned to chaos due to a dead body, a wedding, industrial art, death masks and a whimsical bride. The rest of the stories are about: Car and motorcycle obsessed people who go to races and witness tragedies, a couple of old swindlers in a hospital exchanging stories, a peasant artist who kills goats and paints the insides of his house while insurance salesmen try to get his attention. and a whimsically cheeky condensed first date with a gypsy girl as they talk about their past, future plans, mistrust and strange families all at once. Mostly uninteresting with a few amusing moments.

1999- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents