Valery’s Week of Wonders

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1970

Production year

1969

Premiere

16 October 1970

Runtime

73 min

Category

film

Genre

fantastic

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Valerie a týden divů

Czech title

Valerie a týden divů

English title

Valery’s Week of Wonders

Working title

Valérie a týden divů

Summary

In 1970, director Jaromil Jireš transformed author Vítězslav Nezval’s gothic novel Valérie a týden divů (1932) into a poetic horror story, in what would prove to be one of the last “free” Czechoslovak New Wave features. Production and costume designer Ester Krumbachová served as co-writer along with Jireš. The main character in this dreamlike fantasy tale is a 13-year-old girl (aged 17 in the novel), whose tranquil life with her strict grandmother is transformed into a wondrous, but potentially dangerous adventure. A desire to uncover the secret of her own origins leads Valerie into a fantasy world inhabited by mysterious creatures and characters reflecting the real-world anxieties and wishes of the girl. Young Orlík tries to provide her with some brotherly protection. The outward kindness of Valerie’s pious grandmother is repeatedly challenged (a Skunk doubling as a constable who threatens Valerie was once her grandmother’s lover; the ostensibly old woman still yearns to be seduced by Gracián the missionary). Valerie’s grandmother, in her rejuvenated form, adds to the dangers facing the girl. However, the heroine eventually succeeds in overcoming numerous ominous situations to step forward into the future – now no longer as a child, but as a young woman… Jireš and Krumbachová’s fancy spectacle reflects the heavy erotic connotations stemming from Nezval’s original take on gothic novels (both the Weasel and the perverse priest are after Valerie’s virginity, and her relationship with brother Orlík is also not entirely free of sexual undertones). The screenwriter’s opulent fantasy, together with Jan Čuřík’s brilliant and colourful camerawork, create a strikingly beautiful, but unsettling world. Jaroslava Schallerová, 13 at the time, stars as Valerie. Featured in the cast is Robert Nezval, the illegitimate son of author Vítězslav Nezval, in the small role of a drummer. The son committed suicide shortly after the film was completed.

Synopsis

Thirteen-year old Valery lives in an old house with her austere grandmother. Through her eyes, half-child and half-adult, she observes the world around her, meeting various weird figures who keep changing their identities and whose fates mysteriously intertwine. Then Valery meets a young man named Orlík who steals her earrings while she sleeps, but then returns them. She learns that a constable nicknamed Skunk [Tchoř] was her grandmother's lover long ago, also finding out that the grandmother wants to win the love of the missionary Gracián and hence she is out to retrieve her lost youth. Valery's vigilant guide in this unbelievable world submitted to rules unknown to logic is no one but Orlík. He saves the girl from Skunk, who tries to strangle her. Pearls she receives from Orlík help Valery to disentangle herself from Gracián's powers and also defend her from the rejuvenated grandmother. One of the magical pearls interferes in yet another dangerous situation, when Gracián accuses Valery of witchcraft and the girl is to be burned at stake. Moreover, Valery witnesses the wedding of young Hedvika, who was the victim of a vampire, and at the same time envisions Skunk's death. In the morning, Valery is having breakfast with the grandmother as usual and learns from her that she is the daughter of a gamekeeper's apprentice, whose love affair with her mother made the granny chase her mother away from home. A coach arrives, bringing over the girl's parents as well as her brother Orlík. They all set off to the Eastern Wood. There, Valery can again see the participants of her unbelievable dream which might have been just a dream...

Cast

Helena Anýžová

Dubbing Viola Zinková
Dubbing Nina Divíšková
babička/Elsa/matka/rusovláska

Jiří Prýmek

Tchoř-konstábl

Martin Wielgus

Tchoř-otec

Jan Klusák

misionář Gracián

Alena Stojáková

Dubbing Hana Maciuchová
Hedvika

Karel Engel

kočí Ondřej

Libuše Komancová

služka-novicka

Eva Olmerová

služka-madame

Jana Andresíková

služka z vykřičeného domu

Jiřina Machalická

květinářka

Alice Auspergerová

služka

Zdenka Kovářová

služka

Bedřiška Chalupská

služka

Eva Hnátková

tanečnice

Z. Bláhová

tanečnice

Kristina Maarová

tanečnice

Jarmila Langášková

omdlévající panna

Antonín Cmíral

mrskač

Přemysl Krbec

mrskač

Karel Medek

mrskač

Jiří Šťastný

mrskač

P. Dušek

mrskač

M. Foltýn

mrskač

J. Kolář

mrskač

Palkoska

mrskač

V. Navrátil

mrskač/muzikant

Robert Nezval

muzikant-bubeník

Jan Berka

muzikant

Jan Žižka

muzikant

M. Hotový

muzikant

M. Rohan

muzikant

Zálešák

muzikant

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Eliška Štíbrová, Ota Koval

Assistant Director

Králíček

Script Supervisor

Hana Kozlová

Based on

Vítězslav Nezval (Valerie a týden divů – román)

Shooting Script

Jaromil Jireš

Script Editor

Jiří Musil

Director of Photography

Jan Čuřík

Second Unit Photography

Oldřich Hubáček

Camera Operator

Stanislav Šťastný

Production Designer

Jan Oliva

Assistent Production Designer

Bohumil Nový

Art Director

Ester Krumbachová

Set Designer

Viktor Fixl, Josef Calta, Václav Šebek

Costume Designer

Ester Krumbachová

Film Editor

Josef Valušiak

Sound Designer

Emil Poledník

Production Manager

Jiří Bečka

Unit Production Manager

Olga Mimrová, Josef Hudlička

Unit Production Manager

Jaroslava Pražská

Music

Music Composed by

Luboš Fišer

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by František Belfín)

Songs

Dobrou noc, má plavovlásko

Singer sbor

Dobrou noc, má tmavovlásko

Singer Petr KopřivaJosef Abrhám

Production info

Original Title

Valerie a týden divů

Czech Title

Valerie a týden divů

English Title

Valery’s Week of Wonders

Working Title

Valérie a týden divů

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

fantastic

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1970

Production Year

1969

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 30 April 1968
technical Screenplay approved 10 April 1969
start of filming 28 June 1969
end of filming 6 November 1969
the first film copy approved 28 April 1970
projection approval 6 May 1970

Premiere

premiere 16 October 1970 /unsuitable for youths/ (celostátní /omezená distribuce/)
premiere 29 October 1970 /unsuitable for youths/ (kina Paříž /3 týdny/ a Flora /2 týdny od 12. 11./, Praha)

Studio

Barrandov

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Novotný – Kubala, Bedřich Kubala (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny), Ladislav Novotný (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí a vedoucí výrobní skupiny), Výrobní skupina Ladislava Novotného (dokončení)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

73 min

Original length in metres

2 085 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

colour

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 13. mezinárodní filmový festival Chicago

1971
Chicago / United States of America
Jan Čuřík

Vítěz

Festival: 13. Grand Premio – mezinárodní festival uměleckých filmů a filmů o umění Bergamo

1970
Bergamo / Italy