Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970)

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970), directed by Jaromil JireŇ°.

I don't often venture into surreal Euro art films, but this Czech title is just too gorgeous to skip. At only 1h17m I can live with the weird-god-help-us plotlessness.

Surreal = "incidents which are dramatically symbolic, but which make little sense in terms of coherent plot".

This is part of a little genre of interesting films: the young girl's coming of age told as horror-fantasy inspired by dark fairy tales. The Company of Wolves (1984) and Pan's Labyrinth (2006) are other examples.

I didn't care to try to puzzle out the story (if there is one) but the imagery and fragments of plot strongly invoke the dream imagery of adolescence, those half-forgotten never-understood years when a new world is revealed, then taken away again.

A major attraction is Jaroslava Schallerov√° as the title character, her first film at age 13 and just beautiful in every way. I try not to feel too pervy when watching this but a girl's fantasy imagery is just intimate. We have brief nudity and erotica, but she and the film are appealing far beyond that. She is a strong character, coming into her powers.

Criterion Blu-ray with a lovely image.

The disc includes a nice isolated score by The Valerie Project, a US band. Described as "psychedelic folk", a lot of it sounds like art-rock of the early 1970s, say by Pink Floyd or King Crimson. You can listen online at their website.