Human Flower Project
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Daisies Crop Up where Moviemakers Fear to Tread
The amazing Keith Howes brings us another phase of his research into the role of Asteraceae in filmmaking.
A shocking scene, from The Kiss (1896)
By Keith Howes
Cinema has dealt with the taboos from its earliest beginnings. The Kiss (1896) aroused all kinds of ire from moral watchdogs because its two (opposite sex, middle-aged, fully clothed) actors locked lips on screen for all the world to see. Since then, most subjects have been covered (and uncovered) in the movies, but some taboos simply refuse to go away.
I have undertaken a study of film history in relation to Asteraceae, the flower family that accounts for almost ten per cent of all angiosperms. (Now, there’s a word that was only given utterance - controversially- in Otto Preminger’s 1959 courtroom drama, Anatomy of a Murder. But let’s not go THERE. Yet.) I’ve found that most of the landmarks of filmmaking are attended by these flowers. My research into movies and daisies (beginning with the very first film ever made -1895) leads me to suspect that if their presence has any true significance it lies in two areas: Core (plot/character/morality/ethics/spirituality/sexuality) and Taboo (areas forbidden at the time a film was made or the time in which its story is set).
Here are some daisy-accompanied screen don’ts that were finally done in three films: one from 1968, very much a Broadway/Hollywood product, the other two relatively non-mainstream movies from 1971, one from the US, the other from the UK.