DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS (VALERIE A TYDEN DIVU) (director/writer: Jaromil Jires; screenwriters: Ester Krumbachová /based on the novel by Vítezslav Nezval; cinematographer: Jan Curik; editor: Josef Valusiak; music: Lubos Fiser/Jan Klusak; cast: Jaroslava Schallerová (Valerie), Helena Anýzová (Babicka / Elsa / Redhead Matka ), Petr Kopriva (Orlík), Jirí Prýmek (Tchor-konstábl), Libuse Komancová (Sluzka-novicka), Karel Engel  (Kocí Ondrej), Alena Stojáková (Hedvika), Jan Klusak (Priest Gracian), Martin Wielgus (Father); Runtime: 77; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jirí Becka ; Criterion Collection; 1970-Czechoslovakia-in Czech with English subtitles )

"A confounding surreal dream-like film."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Talented film-maker Jaromil Jires ("Double Role"/"The Joke"/"Pearls of the Deep") is part of the Czech New Wave. Their films were made as dissenters to the oppressive Soviet Union occupiers after the war. This is a confounding surreal dream-like film about the coming-of-age of an innocent virgin orphan 13-year-old girl, Valerie (Jaroslava Schallerová), who lives in a rural town with her stern grandmother (Helena Anýzová). We witness Valerie's fantasy week, that will include her Catholic confirmation ritual and such odd things as vampires appearing (granny emerges as a vampire), the return of her deceased bishop father (who may also be a vampire) and her loving relationship with Eagle (Petr Kopriva), who turns out to be her brother and who has given her magical earrings.

The bizarre Gothic fairytale story was well-produced and its arty images were dazzling, but its content failed to connect with me. It was too jumbled for me to try and put together all its ramifications.

REVIEWED ON 10/27/2014       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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