director Jaromil Jireš
This is one far-out flick.
I can’t seem to recall where I stumbled onto the recommendation for this, but it was a good one. Czech director Jaromil Jireš presents a rich and very weird fantasy cum horror coming-of-age film.
It all starts with menstruation, magic earrings, horny priests, vampires, and incest. Or at least with menstruation. The onset of adulthood, subtly depicted in blood dripping onto a daisy, casts the 13-year-old Valerie into the strange world of adult sexuality and familial truths.
Frankly, it wouldn’t do any good to try and explain the narrative. It’s very dream-like, drifting, Surreal. Images of a creepy “monster” called Weasel is a sort of 1970’s, furry-eared Nosferatu. Grandma sells herself for her youth, Valerie’s semi-John Lennon-looking “brother”, Eagle, is the only one really looking out for the teenage beauty, who also witnesses many scenes of odd sexuality.
Played by the then 13-year-old Jaroslava Schallerová, Valerie is a lovely “Alice in Wonderland,” tripping through the daisies, the devils, the dreams, catching glimpses of sex, death, and beauty in this very wild, fantastic film. Really quite something.