I think I have just watched the greatest piece of surrealist cinema ever made. It's called Daisies. Shot in 1966 in Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) and directed by a woman, Vera Chytilová, who, according to IMDb, was initially trained as a philosopher and an architect, Daisies inaugurated the short-lived Czech New Wave. It is the Breathless of that nation's cinema. But Breathless is nowhere near as crazy, as magical, as erotic, as outrageous as Daisies, which opens with bombs falling on Nazi Europe and ends with a glorious food fight.

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The film's climax: The young and beautiful stars of the film, Jitka Cerhová (Marie I) and Ivana Karbanová (Marie II), enter, after traveling up a magic elevator (little in this film makes straight sense), a hall that contains a long table, lots of chairs, and food prepared for guests who have not arrived. The two begin to eat and eat. They stuff their insatiable faces. The hams, the breads, the sausages, the cakes, the fish, the fruits, the vegetables, the soups, the gravy, the wine—all of this is devoured as the dramatic horns and drums of Wagner's "Siegfried's Funeral March" fill the hall. High culture is slammed into the basest of drives; Wagner's seriousness enters the void of the young women's stomachs. There is no beauty in the eating. One Marie plunges her fingers into a cake and then licks her fingers.

The girls date and dump older men, giggle a lot, eat a lot, walk around the city, get drunk and rowdy, play with each other in bed, get philosophical about life and desire. They came from nowhere; they are going nowhere. They are happy to be here forever. What a lovely movie. Grand Illusion, Nov 9–15. recommended

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