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AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS

Director: Kurt Palm

AUSTRIA • COLOUR • GERMAN WITH SUBTITLES • 1997 • 90 MIN.


‘DUBLIN’ ONE CITY ONE BOOK’ IS A CITY COUNCIL SCHEME TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO READ THE SAME BOOK AT THE SAME TIME, THUS GENERATING A BUZZ ABOUT PARTICULAR WORKS AND READING IN GENERAL.
The title for May and June is Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds, a beer-soaked, brilliantly funny modernist masterpiece first published in 1938. O’Brien would have been disappointed if anybody could come up with a coherent summary of his tome, but this is ostensibly about a lazy, impoverished Dublin college student who is writing a novel about a pub owner called Trellis, himself a writer who keeps falling asleep and whose characters plot his downfall. As Trellis’ creations take on a life of their own, they get mixed up with all kinds of local Dublin types and figures from Gaelic mythology. A big fan of the book, Austrian director Kurt Palm made this film version in 1997. An avant-garde theatre director, Palm is not fazed by the difficult task of giving some kind of visual and dramatic substance to O’Brien’s creations. The film is in fact very faithful to the spirit of the novel and has already proven itself with Irish audiences at previous screenings.

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