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Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

1h 17m Drama, Fantasy, Horror 1970

Alice in Wonderland meets Nosferatu in this late masterpiece of the Czech New Wave from Jaromil Jireš (The Safebreaker, MIFF 1975; Romance, MIFF 1967).

Folktales and Freudian symbolism collide in a 13-year-old’s phantasmagoric concoction. Valerie (Jaroslava Schallerová, who also stars in MIFF 70 film Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls!) finds that the arrival of puberty has put her on a path to a realm of adult danger, where shapeshifting menaces – a vampiric grandmother, a pervy priest and a masked devil – threaten to hijack her initiation into womanhood. Will she emerge with her dignity, and sanity, intact?

Set in a gorgeously Gothic fairytale village, Jireš’s alternately dreamlike and nightmarish coming-of-age work takes a hypnotic, free-floating approach to one young girl’s quest to survive her incipient sexual awakening. Adapted from a 1945 novel by surrealist writer Vítězslav Nezval and released in 1970, just after the Soviet suppression of the Prague Spring, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders slyly disguises an anti-authoritarian attitude in a swirling melange of impeccable production design and ravishingly ethereal imagery.

Director

Jaromil Jireš

Producer

Jirí Becka

Screenwriter

Jaromil Jireš

Screenwriter

Ester Krumbachová

Cinematographer

Jan Čuřík

Composer

Luboš Fišer

Languages

Czech, with English subtitles

Origin

Czechoslovakia

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