Cognitive dissonance of humanity: An analysis of Sedmikrasky

Chytilova’s 1966 Daises or Sedmikrasky is often recognized as a feminist film for reasons that are very easy to notice. It features two carefree women, running around their town with reckless abandon, doing whatever they please. It can also be said to feature feminist topics mainly pertaining to the role of the woman in society; but to say that the film is solely based on feminist theory would be to undermine its brilliance. Daisies is a film not only about gender roles but also about gaining and losing humanity at the same time. It is about the decision to hold onto humanity in a society that is bent on turning people like clockwork, and it is about if it is worse to become clockwork or rebel against it. This dissonance of humanity is exemplified in all scenes throughout the film with the director’s use of montage. The juxtaposition of mise-en-scene and story in the film is what makes it easy to find its meaning. We follow the characters from black and white scenes to colorful and psychedelic like scenes, from solitary spaces, to a club full of people. The film constantly takes viewers from one end of the spectrum (being mechanical) to the other (being human).

The film begins with images of explosions cut in-between images of turning gears. From the very start of the film we not only see the comparison between humanity and mechanisms but also how humanity in a mechanical system leads to destruction. These beginning scenes foreshadow the last scenes of the film. The first time we see the two main characters they are sitting stiffly against a wall next to each other, talking about how the world is going bad and how they should go bad with it. This conversation is accompanied by their bodies moving in a mechanical like manner with sounds to match. After they decide to go bad with the world the very next scene shows them in a bright green meadow, where one of them takes and eats an apple from a tree. Chytilova contrasts mechanics and nature. Where the two women who at first seemed to be stiff robots and placed in an unsaturated environment are turned organic.

The two women take going bad as a game, where they play with the emotions of men, steal from a singing lady in the bathroom, and in one comedic scene they go to a club and distract both the audience and performers by getting drunk and playing pranks on the patrons and waiter. Throughout their pranks and escapades they often mention whether or not they’ve gone bad or rotten as if they are comparing themselves to food, which they eat plenty of.

Throughout the film the two comically consumes large amounts of food in a way doing whatever they can to stay human, they get old men to buy them meals, their room always has some type of food in it, and in one scene they bathe in what seems like milk. Towards the end of the film they have a food fight and waste food, in a way revealing that they no longer need it because they have finally gone bad and lost their humanity. Immediately after the fight they are drowning and calling for help, but they are now bad and no one is helping them. Chytilova created the film in a way that although they are likeable characters we do not care for them, we do not relate to them, or feel sadness for them; not even when they are in the end crushed by a chandelier.

The goal of the two women in the film was to go bad like the rest of the world. They started off as robots, gained human qualities such as deceit, theft, and hunger, and used those qualities to destroy anything around them. They again became robots going through the same motions of deceive, steal, and eat over and over again until they were destroyed. It is unclear whether going bad meant to become like the typical human or become like a robot in society because the two succeeded by doing both.

 

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