Two Versions of Jan Švankmajer’s Doc Kunstkammer to Premiere at Summer Film School Uherské Hradiště and Ji.hlava Documentary IFF 2022

    Kunstkamer by Jan Švankmajer Kunstkamer by Jan Švankmajer photo: Athanor

    PRAGUE: A 55-minute version of the latest long documentary Kunstkammer / Kunstkamera by legendary Czech director Jan Švankmajer world premiered at the 48th Summer Film School Uherské Hradiště on 31 July 2022. An almost 120-minute director’s cut will have its world premiere at the 26th Ji.hlava Documentary IFF in October 2022.

    Kunstkammer showcases the art collection of the famous surrealist artist and invites the audience into one of his most personal locations, his residence and workshop at the Horní Staňkov castle in the Bohemian Forest. The space represents his imagination and provides an inspirational visit to his inner worlds accompanied by Antonio Vivaldi’s music.

    What is it that draws Švankmajer to the concept of Kunstkammer so much to make a film about one? “What Kunstkammer does is to chart or assemble the manifestations of the existence of this magical reality. In the pre-history of humankind, before civilisation and among indigenous peoples, the magical world was the primary (predominant) reality. The advance of civilisation began to increasingly suppress this, putting rational ‘knowledge’ and ‘experience’ in its place, until the successive revolutions of science and technology pushed this world into the dustbin of superstition. Despite this onslaught, civilisation did not, however, succeed in repressing and eliminating the sphere of the imaginative from the history of humankind entirely”, says Jan Švankmajer in a statement.

    The film seems to loosely follow Švankmajer's book of the same title from 2018, whose content is surrealistic in its spontaneity, combining an intimate diary, jumble of styles and registers and two main novel lines (set in post-history and post-apocaliptic Bohemia in 2060) with surrealistic thought passages, unrealised scenarios, media interviews and more.

    The total budget of Kunstkammer was 154,000 EUR / 3,783,500 CZK and was partially covered by the Czech Film Fund with 35,500 EUR / 0.9 m CZK.

    Kunstkammer wraps up 30 years of collaboration between Jan Švankmajer and Jaromír Kallista under their co-founded independent production company Athanor, founded in 1992. Their previous project, Insects / Hmyz, which was financed through a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com, was Švankmajer’s first film fully financed before its shooting.

    The 48th Summer Film School Uherské Hradiště is held 29 July – 4 August 2022 and the 26th Ji.hlava Documentary IFF 25 – 30 October 2022.

    Production Information:

    Athanor (Czech Republic)
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    Director: Jan Švankmajer
    DoPs: Adam Oľha, Jan Růžička

    Click HERE for a small excerpt from Kunstkammer..