From the Chicago Reader (December 5, 2003). Criterion has released a Blu-Ray of this film. P.S. If you hit and load the second and third illustrations below, you can see them move slightly. — J.R.
I only recently caught up with Jaromil Jires’s overripe 1970 exercise in Prague School surrealism, now that it’s become available again, and I’m miffed that I had to wait so long. The 13-year-old title heroine, who’s just had her first period, traipses through a shifting landscape of sensuous, anticlerical, and vaguely medieval fantasy-horror enchantments that register more as a collection of dream adventures, spurred by guiltless and polysexual eroticism, than as a conventional narrative. Virtually every shot is a knockout — for comparable use of color, you’d have to turn to some of Vera Chytilova’s extravaganzas of the same period, such as Daisies and Fruit of Paradise. If you aren’t too anxious about decoding what all this means, you’re likely to be entranced. In Czech with subtitles; a 35-millimeter print will be shown. 77 min. Gene Siskel Film Center.