PRODUZIONE / FINANZIAMENTI Repubblica Ceca
Il maestro surrealista ceco Jan Švankmajer ha terminato il suo ultimo documentario Kunstkamera
- Il film esamina da vicino la collezione di manufatti e oggetti dell'artista ceco e di sua moglie, che include arte primitiva, Art Brut, alchimia e prodotti della natura
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The internationally revered Czech filmmaker and artist Jan Švankmajer bid farewell to the fiction feature-length filmmaking with meta-dramedy Insect [+leggi anche:
intervista: Jan Švankmajer
scheda film] in 2018. However, the surrealist maestro did not intend to retire entirely. Švankmajer continued to publish his writings and was the subject of the behind-the-scenes documentary The Alchemical Furnace [+leggi anche:
intervista: Adam Oľha
scheda film], shot during the making of Insect.
Švankmajer’s long-time producer Jaromír Kallista, of the Czech outfit Athanor, noted that The Alchemical Furnace managed to draw more attention to the filmmaker’s extensive collection of art objects and fetishes, though it could only be glimpsed in the documentary. The producer said that a long-lasting interest in exhibiting artefacts from the collection of Jan and Eva Švankmajer and “a desire of fans from all over the world to visit the collection [glanced in The Alchemical Furnace]” led them to document the collection and create “a cinematic conservation.” They have been working on the project throughout the pandemic, and it is now completed.
“The idea of Rudolf II’s kunstkamera has always fascinated me. Not so much the real art treasures contained in the emperor’s collection, but the sometimes even decaying objects and curiosities that formed an integral part of it. After all, Rudolf II was not an art historian but a man of feverish imagination, and what is more, an emperor at liberty to follow his own fancies, not just ‘aesthetic value’,” explains the director. He adds that wunderkabinet’s “unmediated, non-aesthetic effect, has affinities with the magical functions of the creations of natural peoples or the products of spirit mediums or madmen.” The film will be built on the structure of the topical range entailing the art of natural people, Art Brut, the Arcimboldian principle, alchemy, and the products of nature. “The connecting links are to be magic and surrealism,” adds Švankmajer.
Kunstkamera, the last feature-length documentary project by the 87-year-old Czech surrealist, as confirmed by the film's producer, won’t be solely cataloguing the artefacts in the filmmaker’s private collection. The film’s producer revealed that the intention was to add the filmmaker’s “imaginative perspective” including “the magical atmosphere” of the collections and the chateau Horní Staňkov where the majority of the kunstkamera is installed.
Kallista confirmed to Cineuropa that they are preparing two versions of the film. The shorter cut will be the theatrical version, which will have its world premiere on 31 July at the Czech film gathering Summer Film School in Uherské Hradiště. The longer version — the director’s cut — will have a cataloguing character and will premiere at the upcoming edition of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival. The producer also revealed that they have 20 hours of Kunstkamera footage that won’t be used in the final versions of the film, but which they plan to archive for potential future use. Talking to Cineuropa, Kallista revealed an intention to release The Alchemical Furnace and Kunstkamera together, accompanying the collection with a Kunstkamera book.
Kunstkamera is produced by Jaromír Kallista of Athanor. The Czech Film Fund supported the film. Athanor will distribute the film and handles the sales.
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