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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 June 2005, 08:02 GMT 09:02 UK
New movie celebrates Joyce work
Stephen Rea plays Leopold Bloom in the movie
In times gone by it was the censor who kept James Joyce's work from the silver screen but a new movie celebrating his novel Ulysses, has been delayed for different reasons.

The film project became such a labour of love it has taken 10 years for its director Sean Walsh to complete.

That is how long it took to create a script that condensed the complex novel to less than two hours screen time as well as raising the finance for it.

"It was a mountain I had always wanted to climb," he says of the project.

"I finally achieved it in a style that reveals its humanity and humour and echoes the literary tricks that Joyce originated."

Bloom opens in Belfast at the Queen's Film Theatre this week to coincide with Bloomsday the 16 June anniversary of central character Leopold Bloom's epic walk around Dublin.

The fictional anniversary is marked every year by fans who wander the Irish capital's streets imitating the events which take place in the book.

Bloom reflects the adult themes which scandalised Joyce's critics

Bloom stars Stephen Rea and Angeline Ball as Leopold and Molly Bloom.

Their performances reflect the taboo subjects that shocked the censor first time around including fantasy sex, sado-masochism and transvestism.

Stephen Rea thinks the adult themes will attract audiences although he says there is more to the production than just the bawdiness: "I certainly am attracted to it though it's very boring to do it."

"People still feel it (Ulysses) is a bit highbrow for them. It's not, it's a big emotional, warm story.

"If you want to get a taste of what is actually a great work of literature you should see this movie."


Ulysses became one of the 20th Century's most famous novels. For every reader who found its pages almost impenetrable there was another who lauded it as one of the greatest ever written.

It was first published in serial form in 1918, but serialisation was suspended in 1920 following the journal's prosecution for publishing obscene matter.

Angeline Ball as Molly Bloom
It was eventually published in book form in Paris in 1922, but banned in the UK and US until 1936.

The 1967 film version was banned in Ireland until 2000.

Meanwhile, in Dublin, the annual celebrations of Bloomsday will dominate the city's cultural life in the coming days.

The Dublin Writers festival takes place at venues across the city centre. Forty Irish and international writers will take part in four days of readings and discussions

Imaginative members of the public will also be taking matters into their own hands with impromptu readings from the novel.

Many don period costumes as they imitate the events in Ulysses such as swimming at the Forty Foot, lunching on Burgundy and Gorgonzola cheese in Davy Byrne's bar and behaving unspeakably on Sandymount Strand.

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