charulata wrote:I don't necessarily believe her when she says that btw.
First thing I was taught in mediastudies: don't rely on what the authors have to say about their own work for your interpretation.
charulata wrote:There're also a ton of visual gags that I loved. There's a scene where it appears as though the blonde Marie is lying on the grass till the camera pulls away and we realize that she is lying indoors on a bed on top of a green rug.
Of course, sometimes, this was just because they switched scenery mid scene. Which I also loved.
charulata wrote:The fact that the girls continue to behave like dolls and engage in infantile baby talk about be criticized as anti-feminist. However, to me their ability to conform to gender expectations and simultaneously upend them is what makes the whole thing even more powerfully feminist.
I wonder if the infantile nature is necessarily conforming to gender expectations - whenever they do this in the presence of men, those men seem to feel uncomfortable or annoyed by it, even angry sometimes.
I'm less sure of any other kind of political subtext that the film might be hinting at. For instance, I'm not quite sure what to make of the opening credits with the alternating images of explosions. Nor am I quite sure what to make of the ending. Is Chytilová ultimately condoning her protagonists for their nihilism and decadence? Is the ending merely an attempt at obfuscating Chytilová's sociopolitical views and thereby avoid censorship? And what does one make of the way the girls are reformed in an instant and the final dedication?
I personally read Chytilová's allegiance as residing with the girls. Better to seize control and face the risks than to conform without questioning the norm.
charulata wrote:Am curious as to how exactly you're connecting the beginning and the end. Is it that like them, you see this is as punishment for their excesses?
Ha, you seem to have similar questions as I do. Like Hames says, their punishment seems to come only after they do somewhat conform and present themselves as "consumable offerings", as you say. So are they really being punished for their excesses, or for not seeing that through to the end and backtracking after their actions (literally) land them in cold water? They're also dressed in some contraption made out of metal wires and old newspapers, I'm not sure if that has any significance.
I don't think Chytilová was trying to avoid censorship - the rest of the film seems so free-spirited. And if she did try, it certainly didn't work, since the film got banned on release anyway.
I find her statement that you quoted quite odd. If anything, I rather think that if the end is punishment, that it's for the whole world being decadent and nihilist, and that the girls are simply reflecting that and being made an example of, i.e. that they're a mirror for society. But then, I wonder if that's true since that does seem to conflict with what I think to know of mid '60s Czechoslovak society.
Something else: a Dutch acquaintance of mine wrote a review a few years back in which he claimed the meaning of the film did not have so much to do with feminism and the patriarchy but more with a critique on consumption, with all the food and whatnot. Though I find his interpretation interesting, I don't think he's really on to something there, as he seems to look at the film from a decidedly modern Western perspective, as I wonder if all consuming consumption was that much of an issue in the Czechoslovakia of the 1960s.