Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New documentary "The Joycean Society" follows FW Reading Group

A brand new documentary, "The Joycean Society", about a Finnegans Wake reading group has been making the rounds at film festivals lately and getting some very positive reviews. Spanish artist Dora Garcia researched Joyce and the Wake for years and followed along with a reading group in Zurich led by prestigious Joyce scholar Fritz Senn, documenting the unique world of Wake reading groups in her short feature.

From a review/report about the film:
"Finnegans Wake is a book that chooses its readers; however, it’s not a book that touches everyone,” Garcia says. “It’s a book for people who want to understand the world absolutely, almost Indiana Joneses of language. So it’s an elitist book, but not for the rich or the beautiful, but for the brave who are skeptical at the same time."
From another review in The Hollywood Reporter:
In theory a "highbrow crowdpleaser" should be a contradiction in terms, but Dora Garcia's delightful featurette The Joycean Society comes mighty close to squaring that circle. In less than an hour, the film immerses us in the playfully erudite company of what must be one of the world's more rarefied reading-groups, a gathering of James Joyce enthusiasts who each week meet in Zurich to go through his experimental magnum opus Finnegans Wake page by page, line by line, word by word. The result is an accessible, original, amusing and thought-provoking enterprise, of a length ideal for small-screen slots and of a quality eminently deserving big-screen film-festival exposure.
Some more words about the film from Dora Garcia herself can be found here and here:
I have always been attracted to Joyce in relation to concepts such as “the destruction of the English language”, the “explosion of language”, “the end of literature”. This had, of course, a punk, countercultural quality I was very attracted to.
Hopefully the general public can get a look at this intriguing film soon.


  1. Wow. I hope I get to see that someday.

    I don't think it is an elitist book though. I think it extends its invitation to everybody. It's just that not everybody accepts the invitation.


  2. I like the Indiana Jones line. The book invites everyone but it seems only the intrepid Indiana Jones-like explorers are willing to traverse its tricky jungle.

    A year into my FW group here in ATX, it's interesting to see how people join and then drop out of the expedition.