Branson Reese’s review published on Letterboxd:
You people are gonna fucking murder me but the Miyazaki school of showing food being lovingly prepared does nothing for me. So I found it especially powerful to watch seventy minutes of two Czech teenagers behaving disrespectfully to food. Just absolutely nasty to the very concept of food. They do it so dirty. At one point they spear a bagel and cut it up with scissors. Maybe a single bite makes it in. The catharsis of waste. Then they eat a magazine cutout of some meat. Same shit. It’s all trash. It doesn’t matter. Only one significant bite is taken in this whole thing and it’s up top when they eat from the tree of life and voluntarily cast themselves out of the garden. Two eves just going absolutely brutal on the desert, never once looking back. You don’t even need the flaming sword, they don’t give a shit.
I did a lot of theater growing up. I think, unfortunately, you can tell. But as a result I have an extremely low threshold for experimental performance. It just all feels hollow. Just some depressed director of teenagers repeating something an even more depressed college professor of slightly older teenagers once said was profound. Completely void of any sort of meaning. After seeing this I have even less patience for it. Now I’ve seen what it looks like when you’re enjoying yourself. I was getting a bum deal. That opening scene where they move like wind-up toys is fun. It’s extremely simple to have fun. You just do it.
Even though this movie is deeply anarchic, it’s not actually violent. Its power is in how harmless the actual havoc these girls wreak is. They mostly fuck up a lot of food and give some gross old men blue balls. Unless Chytilová was actually going out and bombing all those buildings in the opening and closing credits they never actually hurt anybody except themselves. But even when they cut each other’s heads off they’re just fucking around with the film. Humiliating that this film was banned. I would not show my face if I had anything to do with that decision. It certainly feels and probably even is dangerous but it’s literally just two girls acting like assholes. I believe they got it for “wanton waste of food” which is some inverted Al Capone going down for tax evasion level bullshit.
Ending the movie with shots of the devastation of war and dedicating it “to all those whose sole source of indignation is a trampled-on trifle” is exactly like Babe Ruth calling his shot.