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“Virtually every shot is a knockout.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
As joyful as it is impossible to pin down, Valerie is a haunting, psychoactive period piece which plunges the beautiful heroine Valerie into a phantasmagorical world of thirsty vampires, the dark arts and dreamy free love — all set to one of the great film scores of the era, a cocktail of psych-folk and avant-garde classical by the great Luboš Fišer. The film opens with 13-year-old Valerie’s first menstruation and subsequent sexual awakening, her unsteady discovery of which lets loose a torrent of quixotic, hallucinatory experiences both terrifying and beautiful; amongst a haze of shifting tones and a flurry of role reversals and Gothic nightmares in broad daylight, Valerie floats along, buoyed by the fears and fantasies that come with nascent sexuality and teenage fantasy. This bewitching brew is a must to behold on 35mm — do not miss it.
Dir. Jaromil Jires, 1970, 35mm, 73 min.
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