Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970)

There are many benefits to dating an English Lit PhD candidate who owns 1,500 movies. Having a supernatural-coming-of-age triple feature is one of them. The first in our triple feature is a Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, a Czech film from 1970.

Watch as the evil priest goes Buffalo Bill on Valerie in attempts to seduce her with his exotic tooth necklace!

The movie tells the story of Valerie, a young girl who has just begun her first period. From there, we are sucked into a world of fantastical imagery and symbolism. There really isn’t much of a plot that can be followed; characters shape-shift: the constable could be her father, or a priest, or both; or maybe he is just a weasel. Her grandmother might be her mother, or her cousin, or a vampire. One thing is certain, Valerie is made vulnerable by her budding sexuality – either people are attempting to seduce her, or steal away her youth to keep themselves young. As she weaves in and out of different realities, we watch as Valerie learns how to protect herself from and navigate within the unpredictable, greedy, nasty world of adulthood.

This is the first five-star movie I’ve seen all summer. That’s not to say the other ones haven’t been good, but this one is just stellar. It is beautiful, compelling, and frightening. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say I could watch this over and over again and never get bored. Anything I can say about it here certainly can’t do the movie the justice it deserves.


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