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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Finnegans Wake, the movie

For St. Patrick's Day, Jesse Walker at Reason does a post pointing out that Finnegans Wake was once made into a movie, and then helpfully links to Passages from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. 

Here is the take from UbuWeb: "A half-forgotten, half-legendary pioneer in American abstract and animated filmmaking, Mary Ellen Bute, late in her career as an artist, created this adaptation of James Joyce, her only feature. In the transformation from Joyce's polyglot prose to the necessarily concrete imagery of actors and sets, Passages discovers a truly oneiric film style, a weirdly post-New Wave rediscovery of Surrealism, and in her panoply of allusion - 1950s dance crazes, atomic weaponry, ICBMs, and television all make appearances - she finds a cinematic approximation of the novel's nearly impenetrable vertically compressed structure.

"With Passages from Finnegans Wake Bute was the first to adapt a work of James Joyce to film and was honored for this project at the Cannes Film Festival in 1965 as best debut."

Jesse also explores Joyce's interest in anarchism, which is something that Robert Anton Wilson also has written about.

Lots of other interesting stuff at Jesse's "Friday A/V Club" feature, including "Thomas Pynchon, Sitcom Star" and "USDA to Farmers: Be a Patriot! Grow Cannabis!"