Comedies and Romance-Inflected Narratives (Lilja Valtonen)

In ‘So We Will Go Bad: Cheekiness, Laughter, Film’, Anca Parvulescu explains how the Czechoslovak new wave film Daisies (1966) by director-screenwriter Věra Chytilová is a comedy that attacks romance and “film’s long recourse to romance-inflected narrative”.[1] Many comedies include romantic subplots or are based entirely around romance. Chytilová goes against this trend, even though there are instances in the film that could be construed as romantic. The two leading female characters are surrounded by a few male suitors, but they never seriously entertain the notion of romance or love. They are just having fun. In one instance, they even ask why the word should be referred to as ‘love’ when a word like ‘egg’ exists. They mock the concept of love both in their actions and in what they say.

Parvulescu’s writing on Daisies as an attack on romance makes me think of the film Bridesmaids (2011), which is – at the most basic level – a story about a bridesmaid and her best friend, who is getting married to a man that never appears in the film. Bridesmaids is centred around female friendships and rivalries and its comedy stems from real life interactions between women and the occasional drunken mishap, rather than a man and a woman falling in love. The bridesmaid, Annie, has two relationships over the course of the film. However, these relationships never become the focus of the film. The first one, especially, mocks conventional relationships because the man does not respect her or care about her unless sex is involved. It demeans our main character and evokes pity rather than any wish from us for them to end up together. If anything, it makes us want the romance to fail for the sake of Annie’s long-term happiness.

[1] Anca Parvulescu, ““So We Will Go Bad”: Cheekiness, Laughter, Film,” in Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies 21 (2006), 151.

2 comments

  1. Annie is presented as the ‘relatable’ woman because she is imperfect and messes up relationships, however, she ends up in a romantic one eventually. Do you think the parodied depiction of romance is meant to comment on women’s role in heterosexual relationships from a feminist perspective, or is it moreso about the comedic element of failed romance?

  2. I think that you are very accurate in your link to Bridesmaids. This movie features the female friendships so much more than the romantic ones, which I think can also go to show how friendships are the bedrock of our lives and that our friends will always be there for us. It does lead me to question if Annie had not been in the first bad relationship would she have been able to grow as much as a person though?

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