Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

1970 sex ed video for girls

Rating: 16/20

Plot: Inceptionesquely, menstruating Valerie dreams a little dream and then a dream-within-a-little-dream, little-dreaming of earring-thieving vampiric chimera, foul grannies, guys with ukuleles, lustful priests, stake burnings, lesbian smoochings, and funky little poisoned demons. Thanks for the trip, Valerie!

As beautiful and as visually interesting this little Czech trip through a pre-pubescent girl's subconscious was, I'm really glad it wasn't much longer. I appreciate cloudy technicolor symbol-laden seemingly-plotless abstract and surreal foreign films as much as the next guy, but this is almost hyper-dreamy if that makes sense. If it's not the sexuality, it'll be the vampires that offend the sensibilities of the religious right, and there are some startling shots of the black-cloaked pale-faced, dysodontial, gaunt figure contrasted against the softer backgrounds of the village. The colors in this beg to be remastered. They're muted and fuzzy, maybe appropriately so, like colors worn away from being from once-upona fairy tale times. This is definitely a case where director Jaromil Jires (don't ask; I don't know him) makes up for the whole no-plot thing and what seems to be a limited budget with a consistent vibe, alluringly hypnotic. It's a frustrating yet tantalizing visual treat, like an Alice's Adventures in Wonderland without the hallucinogenics or a Heidi with fistfuls and a liberally dog-eared copy of The Softest Metamorphosis--A Nubile Girl's to Her Body and How to Avoid Priests and/or Vampires.

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