Valerie (Jaroslava Schallerová) is the young teenage girl who lives with her grandmother. She feels the first stirring of sexual awareness when a carnival parade comes to town. Eagle (Petr Kopriva) is the young man who presents her with a pair of magic earrings. Her fantasy adventures begin when she imagines she is the daughter of a bishop with a hideous visage. Her grandmother becomes a vampire. She pretends to be dead when a priest tries to rape her by swallowing one of the earrings. The line between dreams and reality is blurred in this surreal psychological fantasy. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi
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I've wanted to watch some new wave cinema from eastern europe for a long time, and this seemed like a good place to start. I had read one review that had talked about this being a gem of the Czech new wave--even if it wasn't the best. I agree. This is certainly not the best example of the Czech new wave, but it is very engaging and well done. With movies this dreamlike and trippy, most directors fall apart and present what amounts to hackwork. Jires, on the otherhand, is rather careful, it seems to me, with how far he lets this one go. It's weird--don't get me wrong--but it is very much comprehensible. We see through the eyes of a young girl as she starts to understand that there is a world of sexuality that she does not fully understand. We are also led to believe--and this is by good direction--that most if not all of this film happens during a night's sleep in the girl's dreams. So if vampires seem like a good thing to put in a coming of age film, you might like this one.
Carol C. Strongsville, OH This is a very strange film. It's hard to determine whether it's all a dream or what. Is it magical realism? A vampire story? Visually it is arresting. For me it was ultimately unsatisfying. American filmmakers would have made it move along faster and clarified just what ti was all about I think but then they wouldn't have been able to get the dream like lyrical quality it has. Can't recommend it exactly but it had its good qualities.