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25 May 2019 - 27 May 2019

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders - Ester Krumbachová: Unknown Master of the Czechoslovak New Wave

Czech Center New York and Film at Lincoln Center present the work of the Czech costume and set designer, scriptwriter, and director Ester Krumbachová.


Saturday, May 25, 6:30PM (for tickets click here)
Monday, May 27
, 8:30PM  (for tickets click here)
Francesca Beale Theater at Lincoln Center

SPECIAL OFFER: Enjoy $3 off tickets to Film at Lincoln Center's Ester Krumbachova retrospective—tickets just $12. To redeem: Select the desired showtime at filmlinc.org/krumbachova and enter promo code “Czech2019" in the upper right box.

Screenplay and costume design by Ester Krumbachová
Director: Jaromil Jireš, 1970, 73 min, Czechoslovakia

In 1970, director Jaromil Jireš transformed author Vítězslav Nezval’s gothic novel Valery's Week of Wonders (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. (National Film Archive)









Though Ester Krumbachová was considered by director Věra Chytilová to be the boldest personality of the Czechoslovak New Wave, her contributions to the movement have been largely overlooked. A costume and set designer, scriptwriter, and director, the multi-hyphenate artist shared her puckishly surreal and trenchant, radical vision with such trailblazing directors as Chytilová (Daisies), Karel Kachyňa (The Ear), Jaromil Jireš (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders), and Jan Němec (Diamonds of the Night). But shortly after making her directorial debut with the hilarious yet criminally underseen fantasy The Murder of Mr. Devil, she was blacklisted by the Czechoslovak Communist government. This May, the Czech Center New York looks back on Krumbachová’s singular imprint on the Czechoslovak New Wave, and reexamines some of the movements’ most beloved, important works in a new light. Presented in collaboration with the Film at Lincoln Center.


The Murder of Mr. Devil


The Ear

Fruit of Paradise

All My Compatriots

Diamonds of the Night

The Fifth Horseman Is Fear

Coach to Vienna

Long Live the Republic!


Francesca Beale Theater, Lincoln Center


From: 25 May 2019
To: 27 May 2019


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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