Jean Cohen-Solal: "Captain Tarthopom" LP
Label: Souffle Continu Records
Release Date: 7/27/2018
2018 marks ten years since Finders Keepers Records first liberated Lubos Fiser's immaculate soundtrack music for Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders ("Valerie A Týden Divu") from the vaults of the Barrandov Studio in Prague. As the inaugural release of an ongoing discography of previously unreleased scores from the hugely creative "Film Miracle" that occurred during and after the Czech New Wave (CNW), this score will always retain a special place in the heart of the label. Having grown in status from an obscure and misunderstood socialist-era art house oddity, via the hands of risqué foreign fluff merchants, to finally find its rightful audience as a bona fide surrealist cinematic masterpiece of world class standards, this 1970 film adaptation of Vítezslav Nezval's 1935 avant-garde novella -- a film that literally cross-pollinated Max Ernst's A Week Of Kindness (1934) and Lewis Carol's Alice In Wonderland (1865) -- has garnered widespread critical acclaim. Inspiring ongoing generations of visual artists, musicians, writers, and filmmakers, Valerie continues to impregnate their daily artistic referential fabric. Commonly considered to be the swansong of the CNW, following a huge paranoia-fueled government film cull in 1969, owing to the fact it is last government approved feature film of the post-Prague Spring era to combine the efforts of controversial filmmakers from the FAMU (Filmová A Televizní Fakulta Akademie Múzických Umení) film school, Valerie would also be the first of an exciting and essential new fertile strain of Czech made cinema fantastic. Successfully condensing the final drops of CNW lifeblood through a series of presumed apolitical scary/fairy tales, directors like Jaromil Jires and Juraj Herz used surrealism, traditionalism, and fantasy to rejuvenate the creative energy of apathetic filmmakers evading government scrutiny via creatively coded artistic allegories.