The BFI pay homage to avant-garde filmmaker Věra Chytilová with retrospective season of her work, with eighteen showings throughout March.
Rocking the boat through the power of film, Věra Chytilová challenged the ideas of feminism, socialism and capitalism from the moment she graduated from Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts. Her best known controversial work, Daisies is 1960s comment on communism and the patriarchy. Who’d have thought such serious themes lay beneath scenes of food fights, gluttony and 1920s nightclubs?
Surprisingly Chytilová denied being a feminist, despite being the only woman in her film class and depicting men as weak and women as clever rebels, capable of usurping the male-run society, in many of her works. Even more surprising was her attitude to her teachers, stating publicly that she was setting out to create something that was nothing like anything they had ever made despite having been rejected recommendations to study from her employers, Barrandov Film Studios.
What consequently emerged was an artist who took a place at the forefront of the Czech New Wave genre. Despite creating visually rich and often beautiful films Chytilová never lets the audience comfortably settle, most notably in Daisies where near every shot has something unexpected, a jilt in colour filter, seemingly random montages and awkward aural effects.
As a tribute to the filmmaker, who passed away in March last year, the BFI are showing ten of Chytilová’s features, including Daisies, The Fruit of Paradise and Flights and Falls. See the full schedule here.