It has been 75 years since the world’s most complicated book was published. Finnegans Wake is an esoteric construction, an oneiric travel to the sources of experience, and a radical breakthrough in the history of literature. For the anniversary of the novel, each of the seven UNESCO Cities of Literature has turned a short excerpt into film. The Krakow episode is based on the translation by Krzysztof Bartnicki (Finneganów tren) published in 2012. Jan Bińczycki interviews Michał Buszewicz, the director of the Polish film.
Reading Malopolska: You are an artist standing at the threshold of your career. Yet you have selected the most difficult text in the history of world literature for your début in directing.
Michał Buszewicz: I am a dramatist by education. Moreover I have never worked with film. I don’t believe I would dare to dream out such an idea myself, yet I was given a challenge, so I accepted it. You either enter such a project head, heart and all, or you flee from it. I know I’m fond of risk, and I will jump into the centre of this labyrinth. When my friends learnt about the proposal, they found it impossible. This got me even more enthusiastic. Just to tease. (Laughs.)
RM: Were there any moments of doubt?
MB: Of course! They arrived when I first sat down to read the text. It is a universe with a logic that is difficult to discover early on. The longer I study it, the more evident the internal system becomes. You begin to notice the repetitions, variant repetitions, references to other languages, associations spanning certain gaps, mathematical constructs, and exceedingly precise composition. The more you read, the more logical that universe becomes. The melody of the text comes on top of that, and a certain interesting structure begins to emerge.