Inspired by fairy-tales such as Alice in Wonderland and Little Red-Riding Hood, "Valerie and her Week of Wonders" is a surreal tale in which love, fear, sex and religion merge into one fantastic world.
In the 1950's, Ludvik Jahn was expelled from the Communist Party and the University by his fellow students, because of a politically incorrect note he sent to his girlfriend. Fifteen years ... See full summary »
Towards the end of 1942 a young prisoner Maruska (Magda Vásáryová) awaits in her cell in prison in Breslau (after war Polish Wroclaw) her execution. After death sentence it was ninety nine ... See full summary »
A thief awakens Valerie, just 13, taking earrings left to her by her mother. By morning, the earrings have been returned, Valerie's first period has begun, and a troupe and a missionary have arrived in her Medieval town. The thief is Orick; he reports to a cloaked constable who may also be the missionary. Attention to sexuality is everywhere: Valerie's grandmother's puritanical nature, the missionary's sermon to the town's virgins, the parish priest's attempt to seduce Valerie, and lusty adults at play. Valerie's nascent sexuality puts her in great danger. Can she navigate the passage from innocence to experience, a route teaming with vampires, a murderer, and an obscure family tree? Written by
Beautiful, disturbing, erotic, dreamlike... These are a few words that can sum up Jaromil Jires' deliriously bizarre fairy tale "Valerie and her Week of Wonders". Just like Richard Blackburn's sinister "Lemora, a Child's Tale of the Supernatural", "Valerie" is a 'coming of age' tale told through a monstrous metaphor: vampires, who prey on the young to drain their innocence. Despite similarities theme-wise, these two films are quite different, and "Valerie" is clearly superior - a film that will definitely haunt you for life, with images so shocking today as they were back in 70's when it was released. It is 'horror' of rare ethereal beauty and poetry, and definitely one of it's kind - perfectly capturing the fear, the curiosity and the pleasure of a little girl's sexual awakening. Jaroslava Schallerová is spellbinding as the title character - a combination of Lewis Caroll's Alice and Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, and manages to convey both the purity and the sensuality that the role requires. Kudos for her doing such 'depraved' scenes involving incest and lesbianism, that are surely unthinkable today. Helena Anýzová also gives a harrowing performance in the role of the grandmother, and her gradual transition from repressed Catholic old lady to a seductive, sex-crazed vampire is exquisite. Last but not least, Jires' excellent direction and Jan Curik's lush cinematography that highlights the film's "fever dream" tone help create this brilliant work of art that captures the essence of the ethereal and lyricism on celluloid unlike any other.
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