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The Alchemist Cookbook

Canadian Premiere
  • USA
  • 2016
  • 82 mins
  • DCP
  • English
Hosted by Writer/Director Joel Potrykus

Official Selection: SXSW 2016

“A brilliant character study, complete with tension and biting humor” – Meagan Navarro, MODERN HORRORS

Sean (Ty Hickson) has had it. He’s dropped out of life, set up shop in a small trailer in the woods, and decided to pursue the forbidden art of alchemy. With his cat as sole companion, and a close friend bringing him food and meds every now and again, he remains undisturbed, far from the crushing weight of the real world. Free to blast his music as loud as he wants, he eats crap all day, and builds explosives out of old batteries, because why the hell not, and what is it to you anyway? Alchemical pursuit is a slippery slope, however, and the isolation of such a Faustian endeavor soon proves to be too much to bear. Delusions start bouncing around Sean’s head, and the daily chemistry is soon replaced by a much more dangerous, darker type of art…

Playing out like a punk-rock EC Comics tale, THE ALCHEMIST COOKBOOK sees indie provocateur Joel Potrykus enter a new phase of his career, following his acclaimed Animal Trilogy (COYOTE in 2010, APE in 2012 and BUZZARD in 2013). Partnering up with Ty Hickson (GIMME THE LOOT), he steps it up a notch, delivering another irreverent, abrasive, and horror-infused take on modern-day alienation — be it financial or personal, self-inflicted or brought upon by exterior, perhaps mystical forces. A big “eff you” to everything you know and love, Potrykus’ cinema is at once humorous and flippant, subtle and in-your-face, recalling Jarmusch’s early work, while being its own unique beast; in other words, it humorously foregrounds the horror of existential dread, extracts its essence and turns it into gold.

— Ariel Esteban Cayer