By José Sarmiento Hinojosa

Imagine if you will, a group of people studying, in an almost forensic kind of way, every single nuance and detail of James Joyce’ last masterpiece “Finnegan’s Wake”. For three decades, this attempt  (that could be deemed as completely futile, as the interpretations for Joyce language are as complex and capricious as the book itself) has left this people dwelling into the deepest, most funny, most intriguing and out of this world complex and absurd interpretations, a game of exploring the unknown that leads to every path possible, as if there were actually many possible alternative universes, and the inhabitants of this society are trying to manage to explore them all, to live consciously in all possible outcomes of the book.

The Joycean Society comes alive because this obsessive, almost addictive compulsion of this extravagant individuals which are set to discuss in its entirety the immense stream of consciousness that Joyce constructed for so long. And yes, they seem very aware that the task as hand has derailed into a sort of trance they are really trapped in, constructing significances out of nowhere, or out of the most absurd sources imaginable. For periods of time, it seems like the ultimate academic achievement, a work of extraneous  effort taking hand of all the obscure literature and Joycean references possible. For other periods of time, is just a game of patience, a conversation that derives into literate jokes, absurdist tales, the absurd, the impossible.

Dora García has made an irresistible portrait of this “Joycean Society” in this very well crafted documentary. As the sudden explosions of energy happens in the room, the camera strives to catch this candid exchange of ideas with a daze-like movement and the wonder of discovery (in the out of and in focus shots) on someone who is being treated to one of the most stimulating, most bizarre experiences of life. Filming as one films a battleground, García delights herself in the shots of mutilated books, compulsive annotations, sheets and sheets of information, diagrams, and the result of decades of effort. This joyous effort in itself, has given us, viewers, one of the most stimulating short films in this last decade.

Director: Dora García
Production: Auguste Orts
Cinematography: Arturo Solis
Cast: Fritz Senn, Sabrina Alonso, Ron Ewart, Tad Lauer, Hansruedi Isler M.D., Mary Moore, Seamus Hughes, Janos Biro, Walter Albrecht, Andrea Matha, Marc Emmenegger, Gabi Schneider, Sylvia Herzig, Andreas Flu?ckiger, Dora García, Jan Mech & Geert Lernout
53 min