Leading directors line up to film 'Dubliners'


The idea is so obvious it’s faintly astonishing that nobody has thought of it before. Fastnet Films, the company behind such Irish films as Kisses and The Runway, says that it is to produce a portmanteau film based on James Joyce’s Dubliners. The picture will comprise 15 short films, between five and 10 minutes long, inspired by the stories in the collection.

Lenny Abrahamson, whose What Richard Did just premiered to strong reviews in Toronto, is among the directors tackling an episode. Others circling the project include Kirsten Sheridan, director of the upcoming Dollhouse; Lance Daly, the brains behind Kisses; and Ken Wardrop, creator of the sublime His Hers. Roddy Doyle and Mark O’Halloran are expected to contribute screenplays.

“Everybody loves the idea and there are a lot of Joyce fans out there,” says Macdara Kelleher of Fastnet. “The idea is to contemporise them and really be free. We want to keep the spirit and themes, but then nothing is sacred.”

Few so admired writers have been so indifferently served by the cinema as has James Joyce. There are two serviceable versions of Ulysses: Joseph Strick’s from 1967 and Sean Walsh’s Bloom from 2003. Strick also delivered a fitful take on Portrait of the Artist (1977).

The best Joyce adaptation by far remains John Huston’s take on The Dead, the last story in Dubliners. It will be interesting to see which director is brave enough to draw that straw.

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