Věra Chytilová

1929 – 2014
Airing Daisies (1966) on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 4:30 AM on TCM

Věra Chytilová grew up amid the feverish experimentalism of the Prague arts world of the 1930s and survived both the war and Stalinism by the time she joined the avant-garde movement of feminist directors in the 1960s. At Charles University, she studied philosophy and architecture, before her career in modeling led her into the world of cinema. She enrolled in the Czech Film Academy and subsequently made a series of short films before Something Different (1963), her first feature, which used parallel narratives and a cinéma verité style to contrast the lives of a gymnast and a housewife. Though unconventional, it only hinted at the kinds of experimentation that would make her next film, Daisies (1966), a triumph of anarchy. 

After the Soviet invasion of 1968, Chytilová was idle until 1976, when The Apple Game marked a turn toward a more conventional storyline and character development. However, her later films reclaimed her position as the most stylish and provocative director in Czechoslavakia. She worked steadily into the 21st century before retiring for health reasons following her 17th feature film, Pleasant Moments (2006). Chytilova died March 12, 2014, in Prague at the age of 85.

Select Filmography

Something Different (1963)
Daisies (1966)
Fruit of Desire (1970)
The Apple Game (1976)
Pleasant Moments (2006)