Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original Title: Sedmikrásky
Czechoslovakia, 1966. Filmové studio Barrandov. Story by Vera Chytilová, Screenplay by Vera Chytilová, Ester Krumbachová, Pavel Jurácek. Cinematography by Jaroslav Kucera. Music by Jirí Slitr, Jirí Sust. Production Design by Karel Lier. Costume Design by Ester Krumbachová. Film Editing by Miroslav Hajek.
This exuberant feature by Vera Chytilová is rightly celebrated as an exemplary use of bright, energetic images and daring montage making up a film’s primary substance; discussing it as a narrative is reductive, it’s a film that is less concerned with what it’s “about” than displaying its rebellious mood, which is put across with great delight thanks to the wonderful performances by Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová as “Marie I” and “Marie II”. They’re two naughty young women who decide that since everyone around them doesn’t respect the rules, why should they? Embracing the spirit of anarchy, they take a series of hapless men on dates where they enjoy running up the bill before dropping their escorts off at the train station. Colourful tableaux set in lush green parks or in their own domestic space at home increase the otherworldly tone that will delight those to whom the film’s feminist rebellion speaks directly (which does not include the Czech government, naturally, who banned it for “depicting the wanton”). It’s clever and skillfully assembled, though if an 80-minute experiment isn’t your thing, you might find the experience tiresome even while admiring its construction.