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Wednesday, 27 September, 2000, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Joyce film passed after 33 years
James Joyce
Many see Joyce's Ulysses as one of the best novels ever written
Irish censors have passed the film version of James Joyce's masterpiece Ulysses, 33 years after it was made.

Audiences in Dublin, where the epic novel is set, will be able to see the film in the next few weeks after the movie was given a 15 certificate.

The film, adapted for the big screen by Fred Haines and produced and directed by US filmmaker Joseph Strick, was banned in Ireland in 1967 and refused a certificate by the Censorship Appeals Board the same year.

Under Irish law, a rejected or edited film may be re-submitted after seven years, but a certificate was refused in a further submission in 1975, and again on appeal two years later.

Strick, who said he had found the ban humiliating, asked the censors to reconsider their ban after recently revisiting Ireland for the first time in 25 years.

Ulysses, published by Picador
Ulysses was banned in the UK for its "unmitigated filth and obscenity" in 1922
"I shot the film with absolute fidelity to the novel. There isn't a word in the film that isn't taken from the book," he told the Irish Times.

Starring Milo O'Shea as Leopold Bloom and Barbara Jefford as his adulterous wife, Molly, the story follows the wanderings of young writer Stephen Dedalus and advertising salesman Bloom around Dublin on a singe day in 1904.

Containing much of the sexually explicit language that made the novel controversial, it was branded "subversive to public morality" in Ireland.

It also suffered restrictions in Australia, where it was banned, in New Zealand, where it could only be shown to audiences segregated by gender, and was withdrawn from the 1967 Cannes Film Festival by Strick after a row.

'Innocent stuff'

Ireland's current censor, Sheamus Smith said it was all "innocent stuff now".

"The ban is being lifted now because nobody thought to bring it back before. If it had been re-submitted to me 14 years ago, I would have made the same decision," he added.

James Joyce
Joyce spent most of his life outside Ireland
Published in Paris in 1922, Joyce's novel, a modernist transposition of Homer's Odyssey to the streets of Dublin, was banned in the UK until 1936.

After the British ban was lifted in 1936 it went on to become one of the best-selling books of the 20th century and is considered by some to be the greatest novel of all time.

News of the lifting of the film ban came days after plans for a second adaptation were announced.

Starring Crying Game actor Stephen Rea as Bloom, the new version is reported to have a 4.5m budget.

Angeline Ball, of The Commitments and The General, plays Bloom's wife Molly.

The BBC's Dublin correspondent, Kevin Connelly
"Irish society has changed profoundly"
See also:

21 Jul 98 | Entertainment
Americans vote Ulysses best novel
30 Jul 00 | Scotland
Fringe row over Joyce classic
06 Aug 98 | Entertainment
Ulysses jumps to top of best-seller list
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