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24 May 2019 - 27 May 2019

Daisies - Ester Krumbachová: Unknown Master of the Czechoslovak New Wave

Czech Center New York and Film at Lincoln Center present the work of the Czech costume and set designer, scriptwriter, and director Ester Krumbachová.


Friday, May 24, 9PM (for tickets click here)
Monday, May 27, 6:30PM (for tickets click here)
Francesca Beale Theater at Lincoln Center

SPECIAL OFFER: Enjoy $3 off tickets to Film at Lincoln Center's Ester Krumbachova retrospective—tickets just $12. To redeem: Select the desired showtime at filmlinc.org/krumbachova and enter promo code “Czech2019" in the upper right box.

Screenplay and costume design by Ester Krumbachová
Director: Věra Chytilová, 1966, 73 min, Czechoslovakia

One of the most celebrated films of the 1960s Czechoslovak New Wave, Daisies (1966) is director Věra Chytilová’s second feature film. Made when Chytilová was 37-years-old, this timeless, vibrant classic continues to inspire new generations of viewers. A provocative film, it tells the story of two young women who decide to mirror the decadent, hedonistic world in which they live. Removed from the political reality of the time in which it was made, Daisies are nonetheless a quintessential representation of the mid-sixties aesthetic. Marie I and Marie II have no qualms with traditional morality and social norms, carelessly bamboozling the men attracted to their carefree exuberance – mostly older men. The avariciousness of these models sees them exploiting the wallets of their spellbound male suitors, and just trying to enjoy any kind of fun that comes their way. One gauge of their escapades is the game “matters/ doesn’t matter”, which both swaggering Maries play as they blindly proceed from one adventure to the next. But their “spoilt” nature – as highlighted at the end through a moral underscored by Chytilová – is just innocent rebellion set against the backdrop of a troubled modern world. Yet the protagonists of Daisies – playfully embodied by non-professional actresses Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová – primarily serve as a demonstration of female liberation in accordance with the feminist trends of the times. At the same time, the two Maries stand for – albeit in extreme form – Chytilová’s representation of female characters battling to make it in a man’s world. As such, they join the ranks of similar female trailblazers seen in Chytilová’s Another Way of Life (1963); Apple Game (1976); and Traps (1998). What makes Daisies so unique in terms of both form and meaning is its showcasing of the close collaboration between Chytilová, costume designer, set designer and co-writer Ester Krumbachová, and cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera. The film’s “dangerous” nature only emerged once it was edited together. This meant that though lauded by critics across the globe, and hailed at a multitude of film festivals, the film found itself subject at home to official criticism and censorship (it became one of the few Czechoslovak films to be taken up by the Czechoslovak parliament, and later ended up “shelved” in a “normalisation” era vault). (National Film Archive)










Though Ester Krumbachová was considered by director Věra Chytilová to be the boldest personality of the Czechoslovak New Wave, her contributions to the movement have been largely overlooked. A costume and set designer, scriptwriter, and director, the multi-hyphenate artist shared her puckishly surreal and trenchant, radical vision with such trailblazing directors as Chytilová (Daisies), Karel Kachyňa (The Ear), Jaromil Jireš (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders), and Jan Němec (Diamonds of the Night). But shortly after making her directorial debut with the hilarious yet criminally underseen fantasy The Murder of Mr. Devil, she was blacklisted by the Czechoslovak Communist government. This May, the Czech Center New York looks back on Krumbachová’s singular imprint on the Czechoslovak New Wave, and reexamines some of the movements’ most beloved, important works in a new light. Presented in collaboration with the Film at Lincoln Center.


The Murder of Mr. Devil

The Ear

Fruit of Paradise

All My Compatriots

Diamonds of the Night

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

The Fifth Horseman Is Fear

Coach to Vienna

Long Live the Republic!


Francesca Beale Theater, Lincoln Center


From: 24 May 2019
To: 27 May 2019


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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