Jan Švankmajer reading a script behind a camera in a still from 'Athanor - The Alchemical Furnace' (2020)
Athanor: The Alchemical Furnace (Alchymická pec, 2020)

Athanor: The Alchemical Furnace

Alchymická pec

Jan Daňhel & Adam Olha | Czech Republic and Slovak Republic | 2020 | MA15+
Virtual cinema

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A touching ode to the creative and childlike spirit of one of the masters of cinema, Jan Švankmajer.

Athanor: The Alchemical Furnace is a compelling and playful documentary on the work and life of Jan Švankmajer, whose surrealist blend of stop motion, live action and puppetry within his films has made him one of the most revered auteurs of Czech cinema.

Filmed over the course of three years and visually reminiscent of Švankmajer’s own distinct style, Jan Daňhel & Adam Olha's documentary is a touching ode to Švankmajer’s creative and childlike spirit. Chronicling his singular artistic process at his film studio Athanor and collaging the important aspects of his life, his artistic principles and close collaborators, the film weaves a definitive portrait of one of the most influential Czech filmmakers of all time.

Format: Digital
Language: Czech with English subtitles
Duration: 117 min

Presented by CaSFFA, ACMI, and the Embassies of the Czech and Slovak Republics in Canberra.


7–16 Oct 2021

On demand

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Rental price



117 mins



The content is strong in impact - Children under the age of 15 may not legally watch, buy or hire MA 15+ rated material unless they are in the company of a parent or adult guardian


This film will be available to watch on Cinema 3 from Thursday 7 October.

*7 day rental, 48 hour playback window. Once rented, your films will be available in your account for 7 days. Once you press play, the watch window begins and you have 48 hours to watch the film as many times as you like*

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Get access to all Czech & Slovak Film Festival of Australia films for a discounted price.

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