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Film Probes James Joyce and the Complexities of the Human Heart

  • Ulysses author James Joyce.
    Ulysses author James Joyce.
  • Joyce's wife, Nora.
    Joyce's wife, Nora.

Location: William Smith Hall

November 19, 2014
The duo behind the literary documentary In Bed with Ulysses will screen and discuss their film at Washington College on Wednesday, November 19.

CHESTERTOWN, MD— Filmmakers Alan Adelson and Kate Taverna will visit Washington College for a screening of their documentary In Bed with Ulysses on November 19 at 4:30 p.m. in Norman James Theater, William Smith Hall. Sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Lecture Series, the movie screening is free and open to the public. A Q&A session with the filmmakers will follow.

The book Ulysses is considered a great masterpiece by the author James Joyce. In Bed with Ulysses tells the personal story of Joyce as he battles marital insecurity, failing eyesight, alcoholism, and other struggles to write a novel that would reinvent modern fiction. 

Elizabeth Foley O’Connor, an assistant professor of English at Washington College and a Joyce scholar, reviewed the 2012 documentary for James Joyce Quarterly. “In Bed With Ulysses exudes a deep appreciation of Joyce’s insight into the human condition, especially the myriad complexities of love,” she wrote. “The film’s evident affection for the novel and effortless charm make it worth watching both for those new to the novel and those who can recite passages by heart.”  

New York Times reviewer Andy Webster wrote that the film “strips away the academic clutter surrounding that kaleidoscopic novel to reveal the vital human pulse between its lines. It does so with staged readings of the livelier passages (not, I emphasize, re-creations of them), period footage and insightful commentators (including the Irish novelists Colum McCann and Edna O’Brien), not to mention humor and a palpable enthusiasm.” 

The Filmmakers

Alan Adelson works in both print and film. He was a page-one investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal and has published fiction and non-fiction in many magazines including The New Yorker. He was the European Production Coordinator of the Academy Award winning HBO documentary, One Survivor Remembers. Adelson is currently producing Deadly Decisions, a documentary examining the use of the dioxin-contaminated herbicide Agent Orange in Southeast Asia and its deadly aftermath. He also is writing a family history of the Einsteins under contract with the Crown division of Random House.

Kate Taverna has edited dozens of documentary films including Asylum, which was nominated for the Best Short Documentary Academy Award in 2005, and Pray the Devil Back to Hell, which won the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival documentary competition and has received many other awards. The documentary was instrumental in calling the Liberian women’s peace movement to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, which honored its leaders with the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. Killing In the Name, edited by Kate Taverna, was produced by Moxie Firecracker and was nominated for the best short documentary Oscar. 

The husband-and-wife team previously collaborated on the acclaimed documentaries, Lodz Ghetto, produced by Alan Adelson, which was widely praised as the most authentic film ever made about Jewish life within the Holocaust, and Two Villages in Kosovo, which examines the needless destruction that results from ethnic conflict. 

For more on the film, including a trailer, visit http://inbedwithulysses.com.

– Catalina Righter ’17

Last modified on Nov. 17th, 2014 at 7:09pm by .