Directed by Adam Oľha, Jan Daňhel, documentary, 117 min, eng subtitles, 16+
Written by Adam Oľha, Jan Daňhel
“Always confuse reality with dream and vice versa.” – “Imagination is subversive, because it confronts what is real with what is possible.” – “The sense of touch is more ancient than eyesight, and, therefore, it is more fundamental. Bodily experience is more authentic because it has not been spoiled by aestheticization.” These are some of the “ten commandments” penned by Jan Švankmajer – one of the most original and world-renowned Czech filmmakers – as a manifesto for his filmmaking. In his commandments, he defines his approach to cinematography and his peculiar poetics, based on a playful affiliation with surrealism, which has enthralled audiences and critics alike ever since his early films.
The Alchemical Furnace is a documentary portrait of Švankmajer and his film company Athanor. It traces his close collaboration with his old friend and producer Jaromír Kallista, and wife and creative partner, Eva. Unlike traditional biopics about the life and work of well-known artists, this is a lively dialogue about Švankmajer´s creative principles. It elucidates his creative process “from inside”. It is a thrilling walk through the cabinet of his ideas, themes, and obsessions.
Organised in collaboration and with the support of