- Director: Jaromil Jires
- Writer: Vítezslav Nezval; Jaromil Jires
- Producer: Jirí Becka
When Britain was churning out Hammer Horrors...quietly, in a corner of Czechslovakia, Jires made this little diamond of a film.
The imagery, for its time, is stunning.
An atmospheric little wonder.
A thief awakens Valerie, just 13, taking earrings left to her by her mother. By morning, the earrings have been returned, Valerie's first period has begun, and a troupe and a missionary have arrived in her Medieval town. The thief is Orick; he reports to a cloaked constable who may also be the missionary. Attention to sexuality is everywhere: Valerie's grandmother's puritanical nature, the missionary's sermon to the town's virgins, the parish priest's attempt to seduce Valerie, and lusty adults at play. Valerie's nascent sexuality puts her in great danger. Can she navigate the passage from innocence to experience, a route teaming with vampires, a murderer, and an obscure family tree?