Dublin – UNESCO City of Literature celebrates the 75th anniversary of Finnegans Wake – Joyce’s legendary book of the dark. To commemorate this anniversary each of the seven UNESCO cities of literature made a unique present: film adaptation of a short excerpt from the novel. The Krakow episode is based on Krzysztof Bartnicki’s translation: Finneganów Tren, published in 2012, the effect of more than ten years of titanic work. The film had its premiere yesterday (14th May) in Dublin. The Krakow Festival Office is the film producer.
The author of the film concept and the film director is Michał Buszewicz, one of the most talented playwrights of the young generation. He invited cooperation of Magda Szpecht, Kuba Laskowski and Ludwik Kamiński to make a film based on an excerpt from the novel. The cast includes twin brothers Lesław and Wacław Janicki, famous actors of Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre (now running a jeweler’s workshop in Krakow), as well as Jaśmina Polak known from Hardkor Disco. The film was made at Wawel Cathedral, the Krakow Szkieletor (Skeletor), as well as at the Janicki brothers’ shop in Krakow. The Krakow episode refers to the famous legend about the 16th-century pirate queen, Grace O’Malley, whom Lord Howth refused entry to his castle at dinner.
The project was co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage under the programme Krakow City of Literature – a social and promotional campaign to use of the Literary Krakow brand in order to promote readership and Polish literature.
Michał Buszewicz (born 1986) is a playwright and scriptwriter, the author of Zbrodnia (Crime) staged at the Polski Theatre in Bielsko–Biała (award for the best spectacle at the 18th National Competition for Staging of a Polish Contemporary Play), Proces Berentyzacji (The Processs of Berentisation), which was staged under the 12th Drama Days at the Jerzy Szaniawski Theatre in Wałbrzych, Bohaterki (Heroines) staged in the same theatre in 2013, and Misja (wojny od których uciekłem) (Mission – Wars I Escaped) which reached the semi-final of the Gdynia Drama Award 2012. He was assistant to Paweł Miśkiewicz at the staging of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull.
James Joyce is one of the greatest 20th-century writers, Irish-born, writing in English. In protest against provinciality and bigotry of his native Dublin he left Ireland in 1904 to never come back again. He lived in Rome, Pula, Trieste, Zurich and Paris, where his greatest works abounding with autobiographical allusions were created. He died in Zurich during WWII. He is buried there with his wife. He authored two books which completely revolutionised novel writing. The first, Ulysses (1922), combines formal innovation with boldness in writing about sex. The second, Finnegans Wake, is Joyce’s last work which he began writing on 10th March 1923. Finnegans Wake is an innovative text, even today believed to be a book that is impossible to read. The language of the book is irregular, based on sound, sense and rhythm plays.
Krzysztof Bartnicki authored the novel Prospekt emisyjny (Prospectus) published under Liberatura series, author of dictionaries and holder of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage scholarship. He published some excerpts from Finnegans Wake in Literatura na Świecie and Przekładaniec. His translation of Finnegans Wake is one of the few complete translations of Joyce’s masterpiece (after its French, Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Korean translations). It was published by Corporation Ha!art which also released his book Fu wojny (The Fu of War).
The Krakow Festival Office sincerely thanks the translator Krzysztof Bartnicki for making his translation available for the project.