Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (film)

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This article is about the 1970 film. For the 1932 novel of the same name, see Valerie and Her Week of Wonders.
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
Valerie a týden divů
4467 print2.jpg
Original Czech film poster
Directed by Jaromil Jireš
Produced by Jirí Becka
Written by Vitezslav Nezval (novel)
Jaromil Jireš (screenplay)
Ester Krumbachová (screenplay)
Jirí Musil (dialogue)
Starring Jaroslava Schallerová
Helena Anýžová
Karel Engel
Jan Klusák
Petr Kopriva
Music by Lubos Fiser
Distributed by Janus Films (US release)
Release dates 1970
1974 (US release)
Running time 73 min.
Language Czech

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Czech: Valerie a týden divů) is a 1970 Czechoslovakian surrealist film directed by Jaromil Jireš and based on the 1932 novel of the same name by Vítězslav Nezval.

The 1970 film adaptation of Valerie a týden divů was shot in 1969 starring the then 13-year-old Jaroslava Schallerová as Valerie, with a supporting cast of Helena Anýžová, Karel Engel, Jan Klusák, Petr Kopriva, among others. It was filmed in the Czech town of Slavonice and surrounding areas. The film portrays the heroine as living in a disorienting dream, cajoled by priests, vampires, men and women alike, and blends elements of fantasy and horror films.[1]

Plot[edit]

The film starts out with 13-year-old Valerie (Schallerová) sleeping in a gazebo. A thief comes in the night and steals her earrings; when she goes to investigate, she sees a horrific man before he covers his face with a weasel mask. The next day she is swimming in a pool and is then watching the water when the thief's arms suddenly return her earrings to her.

Valerie walks to her house and falls asleep.

She is walking on a bank. Back at her house, over breakfast, she talks to her grandmother and asks her about when the missionaries are arriving in town.

During a neighbor's wedding, Valerie sees the man from last night watching her in the crowd and her grandmother reveals that it might be a past lover. While practicing piano, Valerie receives a letter finding out that there is a church sermon for all the town's virgins. After the service, Valerie finds Eagle, who sent her the letter and stole her earrings the previous night and he claims that the man in Valerie's yard and the wedding is a monster. After this, the "monster" leads Valerie to a chamber where she is forced to watch her grandmother torture herself for the love of her ex-lover, a priest named Gracian.

Eagle saves Valerie and then tells her that the monster, whose name is Weasel, is in love with her and during a conversation with Valerie's grandmother, Weasel promises to make her young again on one condition: she has to sell him the house that Valerie is destined to inherit. Eagle gives Valerie a pearl and tells her that it will keep her safe.

At a picnic with Gracian, he reveals that Weasel had two kids: Valerie and Eagle. That night, while undressing in her bedroom, Gracian comes in and attempts to have sex with her and she uses the pearl to kill Gracian via hanging. After this, Valerie is transferred to the bedroom of Hedvika, her recently wedded neighbor, and her husband where her grandmother and Weasel are, waiting for Hedvika's husband to seduce her so that he (Weasel) can steal some of Hedvika's blood to make Valerie's grandmother young again.

DVD[edit]

In January 2004 the film became available commercially in the US on the Facets Video label[2] and in June that year the film was released on DVD in the UK by Redemption Films Ltd. In 2006 the film was officially released in the Czech Republic by label CÈV/Bonton. All three releases present the film in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Unlike the Facets and Redemption releases, the CÈV/Bonton DVD is not presented with hardcoded English subtitles, but with optional Czech subtitles. British label Second Run DVD [3] released an all-new remastered edition of the film on PAL Region 0 DVD on 25 August 2008.

Soundtrack[edit]

The film soundtrack, featuring music composed by Luboš Fišer, was released for the first time by [4] in December 2006. Available both on CD and LP, the booklet reveals previously unseen images, international poster designs, as well as notes by Andy Votel, Peter Hames and Trish Keenan from the band Broadcast.

Influence[edit]

Many writers have cited similarities between the film and the work of English writer Angela Carter, who had seen the film during its release in England.[5] Her screenplay for The Company of Wolves (1984) adapted from Carter's short stories, in collaboration with director Neil Jordan, bears a direct or indirect influence. A May 2005 Jireš retrospective film series at Riverside Studios showed the two films together.

In 2006 members of freak folk acts Espers, Fern Knight, Fursaxa and other musicians formed The Valerie Project.[6] The group performs original compositions in unison with the film.

In their 2008 album, Skeletal Lamping, the band of Montreal references this film in the song "St. Exquisite's Confessions".

The Broadcast album Haha Sound takes much inspiration from film and its music. Their song "Valerie" is the most obvious example.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Czech horror: Jaromil Jireš's Valerie a týden divů (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, 1970)". KinoEye. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Valerie and Her Week of Wonders". Amazon.com. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Valerie and her Week of Wonders". Second Run DVD. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  4. ^ "The Valerie Project". Finders Keepers Records. 
  5. ^ Tanya Krzywinska. "Transgression, transformation and titillation". Kinoeye: New Perspectives on European Film. Retrieved September 2003. 
  6. ^ "the Valerie Project". 

External links[edit]