Stylized, irreverent, and iconographically ambiguous, the 1969 Czech New Wave film The Fruit of Paradise (Ovoce stromů rajských jíme, dir. Věra Chytilová) has frequently left even admiring audiences at a loss for words. In our reading, we take this film's intense but deliberately decentering sensory saturation as a novel and poignant cinematic enactment of feminine difference. Fruit's vivid multidimensional expressive modality, we posit, provides a curiously fecund opening beyond the margins of the conventional symbolic order, pursuing through its feminine-feminist aesthetic a cinematic exploration of écriture féminine. While studying the film's experimental cinematography, its carefully thought-out costume and set design, and its deliberately naive acting style, we find particularly noteworthy the filmmakers' employment of color. Fruit's chromatic experimentation, we argue, is taken in directions that suggest intriguing gendered implications for color.
Věra Chytilová's The Fruit of Paradise: A Tale of a Feminine Aesthetic, Dancing Color, and a Doll Who Kills the Devil
Iveta Jusová, Dan Reyes; Věra Chytilová's The Fruit of Paradise: A Tale of a Feminine Aesthetic, Dancing Color, and a Doll Who Kills the Devil. Camera Obscura 1 December 2014; 29 (3 (87)): 65–91. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-2801518
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