Alchemical Furnace

An immersive journey through the life and work of Jan Svankmajer, last standing hero of Surrealism and author of some of the most unique masterpieces in the history of cinema.

Alchymická pec
Czechia 2020
117 min.
  • This film is available in the following territories: Czechia, Slovakia.

The legendary artist, filmmaker and surrealist, Jan Švankmajer, whose work has inspired artists such as Terry Gilliam and the Quay Brothers, bid farewell to feature filmmaking in 2018 with his swan song, Insects. While shooting the making of Insects, directors Adam Olha, Jan Daňhel and producer Jaromír Kallista decided to preserve Švankmajer’s unique creative process revealing the behind-the-scenes details of his artistic practice. Over three years they followed his life and work at home and abroad (including the UK premiere of Insects at the Tate Modern) creating a complex portrait, a collage, in which serious discussions about his artistic principles are interlaced with footage of him at work and at home including everyday and comic moments such as crashing his four-wheeler, posing awkwardly with fans or getting irritated by organisers at an art exhibition. Talking with disarming honesty, Jan Švankmajer, an extremely private man, opens up and speaks of his dreams, meditations, and his wife and muse Eva Švankmajerová, revealing the difficult times after her death.

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Director: Jan Daňhel, Adam Oĺha
Screenplay: Adam Oľha, Jan Daňhel
Cinematography: Adam Oľha, Jakub Halousek, Jan Daňhel
Sound: Ivo Špalj, Tobiáš Potočný, Jaroslav Fryš
Editing: Jan Daňhel
Producer: Jaromír Kallista, Zuzana Mistríková, Jan Švankmajer, Ľubica Orechovská
Cast: Jan Švankmajer, Eva Švankmajerová, Jaromír Kallista, Pavla Kallistová, Tomáš Kalous
  • This film is available in the following territories: Czechia, Slovakia.