Valerie a tyden divu AKA Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

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Jaromil Jires - Valerie a tyden divu AKA Valerie and Her Week of Wonders [+Extras] (1970)

Czech with English subs


This dreamlike fairytale captures the coming-of-age of a young Czechoslovakian girl. After receiving a pair of earrings, strange things begin to happen to Valerie. As her burgeoning sexuality sparks even more haunting escapades, Valerie must contend with an explosively surreal world that challenges and inspires her.

Filmed in and around beautiful South Bohemia, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is mostly set in Prague in what seems to be either medieval or turn of the century time period.

The beginning of the film follows Valerie, played by the enticing Jaroslava Schallerová, as she explores her wonderland and interacts with the characters within it with wide-eyed wonder and curiosity. While a lot of the film is up to the viewer to interpret if they choose to, the crux of the story centers around Valerie and a pair of magic earrings that have been stolen from her by her 'brother'. These magic earrings protect Valerie and keep her (and others if needed) from dying. Valerie lives with her religious, rosary carrying grandmother (Helena Anýzová) and as the dream starts, has just found out that a troupe of actors will be arriving in town to perform for the wedding of a local girl, as well as a missionary who is returning from abroad.


A surreal and, at times, achingly beautiful coming-of-age tale set against a backdrop of menacing pagan mysticism, director Jaromil Jires' earthy fable offers a unique portrait of a world not too far from our own in terms of collective mentality and skewed politics. Whether viewed as a political allegory or a simple cautionary fable, the film could likely succeed on either level, though Jires' damning view of organized religion shines through with distinct and unmistakable clarity no matter how the film is interpreted. 

From the dank interiors of the vampire-infested village's secret underground corridors to the bright sunshine that seems to permeate the celluloid in the afternoon light, Jires succeeds in creating an unsettling atmosphere that's as effective as it is unpredictable. Comfort in family, religion, and law enforcement all fades, as Valerie (Jaroslava Schallerová) confronts such menacing corruptors as a creepy, Nosferatu-like priest and the pedophilic constable and throughout everything, Jires offers his young protagonist no safety or sanctuary save for a pair of powerful magical earrings. As the menace closes in from every side (including Valerie's own household), the bleakness that would traditionally be punctuated by darkness is instead sickeningly highlighted by the soft rays of the afternoon sun -- making the threat all the more effective. The choice of Jaroslava Schallerová as the innocent but extremely aware Valerie is indeed a wise choice, as her unusual and hypnotic beauty serves to highlight the film's otherworldly aesthetic.

Shot in the lyrical Elvira Madigan mode, this celebrates the 'first stirrings of adolescence' of a beautiful young girl in a vaguely-defined Transylvanian townscape sometime in the last century. A student of folklore and mythology could perhaps detect a logical thread in the continuous sequence of vampires, devils, black magic, ritual and dance that the film presents, but for most people it will be a simpler and undemanding pleasure to sit back and be agreeably surprised as the images unfold. There is no clearly-defined story; the film's logic is that of the subconscious, its images those of the Gothic fairytale and the psychiatrist's couch, and its overall effect is stunning.

In a haze of overexposure and soft-focus, a young girl in a white, lacy dress swims among water-lilies, nibbles fruit, and smells the summer flowers in a field swarming with bees and birds. The film’s alluring title, the delicate flutes and harps ringing on the soundtrack, and the fleshy, but somehow stale quality of the Eastmancolor film stock set the stage for some vintage European art house pornography. What we get, however, is something slightly more complicated.

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is principally a parable of menstruation, a bizarre gothic fable of a young woman’s maturation into womanhood. In the opening scenes, the beatific Valerie loses her pendulous earrings (only to regain them later), blood drips upon a daisy, and soon, Valerie declares to her grandmother that she is “not a child anymore.” The film’s symbolism is alternately subtle and overt, and provides a gauzy tapestry of intoxicating and unsettling images that drives a rather cryptic narrative.

Certainly, the film’s subtext of sexual awakening bears the mark of many contemporary sex-romps, but Valerie immediately distinguishes itself in its level of menace, which is largely personified by the figure of the Weasel. This character (who is alternately referred to as the Constable, the Bishop, and, more humbly, ”Richard”) seems to be a distant cousin of Murnau’s Nosferatu — white-faced, black-cloaked, and more hideous than Max Schreck, Klaus Kinski, and Willem Dafoe combined. The Weasel, who may or may not be Valerie’s father, lurks throughout the film, lecherously grinning and groping at the young girl. A powerful, shape-shifting vampire with an appetite for chicken blood, the Weasel even enlists Valerie’s creepy, sallow grandmother into his plan to ensnare and manhandle the young girl. Valerie’s only compatriot against these perverse, supernatural forces is Eagle, a charming young suitor who may or may not be her brother.

Needless to say, this very puzzling set of familial relations, combined with the persistent threat of incest, confounds the erotic potentials of the film. (Even the film’s climactic scene, a bacchanalian orgy in a forest, does nothing to ease these concerns.) But similarly, the film’s most sinister aspects are quickly defused by the indefatigable Valerie, whose implacable innocence keeps her smiling even in the face of rape or execution.

With its shifting moods and its fairy tale symbolism of youth and age, sexuality and death, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is part opaque folk tale and part Gothic horror (with lusty priests and vampires straight out of Matthew Lewis’ The Monk or Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian). But its elliptical narrative structure and cryptic imagery place it firmly within the tradition of the Czech avant-garde. The film was directed by Jaromil Jires, a key member of the Czech New Wave, and was adapted from a novel of the same name by Vitezslav Nezval, poet, novelist, screenwriter, and principal founder of the Czech Surrealist Group (of which Jan Svankmajer was later a member). Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is characteristic of its creators’ work in its editing non-sequiturs and narrative experimentation. In particular, Nezval was noted for his combination of surrealism and socialism, and his flouting of narrative conventions as a means of challenging the “bourgeoisie” of realism. But while it maintains much of the original story’s ambiguity Jires’ adaptation seems to elide the political subtext of Nezval’s work. Nonetheless, the film manages to strike a curiously equivocal position as both an ethereal, erotic fantasy and a formally demanding exploration of the grotesque.


SPECIAL FEATURES (No English subtitles!)
• Alternate soundtrack, with no dialogues, (as second audio track) featuring music by The Valerie Project. More info [url=]HERE[/url]
• Interview with Jaroslava Schallerová
• Interview with Jan Klusák
• Interview with Pavel Taussig

Thanks to tubesoda from cinematik for putting together the custom DVD!









------------not my rip-----------

File Size (in bytes) ..........................: 933,806,080 bytes
Runtime ............................................: 1:13:21

Video Codec ...................................: XviD 1.1.2 Final
Frame Size ......................................: 592x448 (AR: 1.321)
FPS ..................................................: 25.000
Video Bitrate ...................................: 1397 kb/s
Bits per Pixel ...................................: 0.211 bpp
B-VOP, N-VOP, QPel, GMC.............: [B-VOP], [], [], []

Audio Codec ...................................: 0x0055 MPEG-1 Layer 3
Sample Rate ....................................: 48000 Hz
Audio Bitrate ...................................: 123 kb/s [2 channel(s)] VBR
Interleave (in ms).............................: 40
Preload (in ms).................................: 480
Split/Aligned Across Interleaves.....: Aligned
No. of audio streams .......................: 2 


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'If we all seed just 1:1, give at least what we take, this torrent will NEVER DIE 
Extras/Interview with Jan Klusák.avi 37.886 MB
Extras/Interview with Jaroslava Schallerová.avi 42.162 MB
Extras/Interview with Pavel Taussig.avi 46.821 MB
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