This is a Czech New Wave Film by Vera Chytilova. In going through the special features, it’s clear that she had many difficulties in her film career due to the State’s control over the Czech film industry. But that’s a topic for another day, perhaps. But she made this film. And it was thought-provoking.
The two characters in the film, whose names change frequently, are young bohemian women. They live free. They take advantage when life presents opportunities for them. They don’t specifically look for trouble, but they also don’t stop to think about the repercussions of their actions before they act. They are young. They are free. They trick old men into buying them elaborate, extravagant lunches, they are ego-centric and attention-getting, and they are apparently on a path to destruction.
Throughout the film, I viewed them as scavengers: taking what they could get, scrounging around into every nook and cranny trying to find a free ride or a free lunch, breaking into places they shouldn’t be and making the most out of what they found.
By the end, Chytilova “gives” them a conscience and this is interesting because they are characters in a film that are created anyway. But rather than letting the narrative take the viewer through the plot naturally (to see the ‘real’ consequences to their actions), Chytilova lets them fall (metaphorically and physically) but she also gives the viewer a glimpse of “what if they rectified their selfish behavior.” The end of the film is definitely an interesting statement on sometimes when you gorge yourself on others’ bounty, you really screw yourself with no hope of redemption (because the filmmaker. a.k.a. ‘God’ has the upper hand).
These two girls, I suppose, represent the difference between being young and irresponsible, and older and responsible. There is a shift between these two for everyone. There is a time in everyone’s lives when they truly do not realize the repercussions of their actions. And then one day they realize. And then they are “closer” to being an adult.
But what’s so bad about staying young and irresponsible? Well, that’s easy: when the people around you are the ones footing the bill, nobody will want to be around you anymore.
But it’s not that simple with this film.
In the case of this film, I’d say youth (and its corresponding freewheeling irresponsibility) was eradicated without any attempt to reform or educate. And that’s never a good thing. You can’t just let a chandelier crash on their heads after they tried to right their wrongs. I suppose Chytilova’s point is clear: you have to nurture creativity and youthful energy, and not try to eradicate it if it’s not going exactly your way. This must relate in some way to her experiences making films in a state-controlled environment.
That makes a lot more sense than just getting rid of the young and irresponsible.