"It's nothing, only a man hanging."Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
(the original title is Valerie A Týden Divů
— "Valerie's Week in Wonderland") is a Surrealist Czech New Wave horror/fantasy film from 1970, directed by Jaromil Jireš. The plot, as far as can be discerned, concerns young teenage Valerie, who lives with her severely prim grandmother. Her earrings are stolen one night and then returned the next day, after which a strange and sometimes disturbing phantasmagoria commences.
This Cult Classic
has garnered an alternative soundtrack courtesy of the band The Valerie Project who perform their score over the film at screenings, and has been referenced by other artists including Of Montreal
This film contains examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: Consistently, Valerie's only protector is Orlík. All the adult authority figures are, at best, weak and at worst, utterly corrupt.
- Animal Theme Naming: Tchoř ("Weasel") and Orlík ("Eaglet").
- Archnemesis Dad: Tchoř enslaves, tortures and harasses his offspring.
- Bad Boss: Tchoř.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Orlík is in love with Valerie, who admires but rejects him until she kisses him in the final scene.
- Burn the Witch!: Gracián tries to have Valerie burned to death, lying that she seduced him.
- Coming of Age Story
- Corrupt Church
- Courtly Love: Orlík for Valerie.
- Creepy Cathedral: During the sermon.
- Damsel in Distress: Valerie on several occasions. One some occasions she escapes using a magic pearl, alternately she is rescued by her brother.
- Dark World: Arguably.
- Distressed Dude: Orlík is rescued three times by his sister.
- Down The Rabbithole
- Dysfunctional Family: Valerie and Orlík are constantly under threat from their older relatives.
- Evil Matriarch: Babicka.
- Evil Old Folks: Babicka and Tchoř want to drain the youth of Valerie and Orlík.
- Exploring the Evil Lair: Tchoř takes Valerie into his underground room, where she proceeds to touch everything.
- The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles
- For Doom the Bell Tolls
- Gainax Ending
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Particularly Babicka.
- Incest Subtext
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Valerie.
- Long-Lost Relative: Tchoř and Orlík to Valerie.
- Looks Like Orlok: Tchoř.
- Love at First Sight: Orlík is sent to steal Valerie's earrings, but returns them almost immediately out of regret.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: "Her father was the Bishop." "I was the Bishop!"
- MacGuffin: The two magic pearls.
- Magic Realism
- Meaningful Name: Valerie means "brave", Tchoř turns into a weasel and Orlík guards and watches over his sister.
- Merciful Minion: Beginning with returning her earrings, Orlík constantly and furtively disobeys Tchoř in favour of protecting Valerie.
- Nice Hat: Orlík's straw boater, which he is almost never seen not wearing.
- No Periods, Period: Valerie's menarche is the catalyst for her dream or journey.
- Not So Different: Tchoř, Babicka, Orlík and Valerie are all seen happy together by the end.
- Ominous Latin Chanting
- Ominous Pipe Organ: In the church.
- Orphan's Ordeal: Valerie. Orlík suffers from the reverse.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires transform into weasels and have a taste for chicken blood. Tchoř appears as a bald, white-faced monster with pointed ears.
- Parental Abandonment
- Scenery Porn
- Secret Identity: Tchoř and Orlík, at various points.
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Tchoř is trapped in his polecat/weasel form by Valerie's magic pearl. A farmer shoots the polecat.
- Sinister Minister: The sleazy Gracián and, as eventually revealed, Tchoř.
- Undeathly Pallor: Tchoř. Conversely, Babicka is this in life but not undeath.
- Unexplained Recovery: Gracián, Tchoř and Babicka all die and later mysteriously reappear alive.
- Villainous Crush: Tchoř for Valerie.
- Wandering Minstrel: Orlík is often carrying a lute, playing or singing to Valerie. He is also seen with a guitar on his back and playing a flute.
- Weirdness Magnet: Valerie.
- Woman in White: Valerie with her white smock and, more dramatically, Babicka, who often is covered up in a white Victorian dress with white gloves (her skin and hair are also whitish).