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


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

Kunstkammer presents the art collection of the famous surrealist artist and invites the public to one of his most personal places, his residence and studio at Horní Staňkov Castle in the Bohemian Forest. The space represents his imagination and offers an inspiring tour of his inner worlds accompanied by the music of Antonio Vivaldi.

What attracts Švankmajer so much to the concept of Kunstkammer to make a film about a person? “What the Kunstkammer does is map or piece together the manifestations of the existence of this magical reality. In the prehistory of mankind, before civilization and among indigenous peoples, the magical world was the primary (predominant) reality. The advance of civilization began to remove this more and more, putting rational “knowledge” and “experience” in its place, until successive revolutions in science and technology pushed this world in the dustbin of superstition. Despite this onslaught, however, civilization has failed to suppress and entirely eliminate the sphere of the imaginary from the history of mankind,” Jan Švankmajer said in a statement.

The film seems to loosely follow Švankmajer’s 2018 book of the same title, the content of which is surreal in its spontaneity, combining a diary, a jumble of styles and registers, and two major novel lines (set in post-history and post-apocaliptic bohemianism in 2060) with surreal passages of thought, unrealized 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 million CZK.

Kunstkammer concludes 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 / Hmyzwhich was funded through a successful crowdfunding campaign on, was Švankmajer’s first fully funded film before it was shot.

The 48th Uherské Hradiště Summer Film School will be held from July 29 to August 4, 2022 and the 26th Ji.hlava IFF Documentary from October 25 to 30, 2022.

Manufacturing information:

Athanor (Czech Republic)
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Director: Jan Svankmajer
Directors of photography: Adam Oľha, Jan Růžička

Click HERE for a small excerpt from Kunstkammer..


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