Bloomsday Film Festival to mark James Joyce anniversary with programme featuring Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet production

  • Mariam Darchia performed the character of Lucia Joyce in the 2020 premiere of the production. Photo: Tina Kazakhishvili, 16 May 2022 - 17:16, Tbilisi,Georgia

Ireland's Bloomsday Film Festival will mark the centenary of the publication of Ulysses by James Joyce with a programme featuring short films including Lucia's Room, a production of the Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet troupe, next month.

Selected among the numerous short films  for the festival's 2022 selection, the mono "film-ballet" production was premiered by the Tbilisi company in July 2020 and centres on Lucia, the famed author's daughter, who displayed prominent talent in illustration and dance in her youth before her death at age 75 in tragic circumstances at a "notoriously cruel" mental health institution in 1982.

Featuring the troupe's dancer Mariam Darchia, the production comes from the idea and concept by Artistic Director Mariam Aleksidze and Director David Maziashvili, and was premiered in a stream during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020.

The performance debuted with a soundtrack by Anamaria Burduli and featured James Joyce's reading of his novel Finnegans Wake. The staging team's summary said the work was based on "various works and personal letters" by Joyce, and explained the inspiration of using the character of her daughter in the ballet.

Lucia Joyce - [...] [a] tragic muse, talented dance artist who spent most of her adult life in a lockdown [-] attracts interest for her [mysterious] personality and dramatic story to transmit the concept using words, music and choreography from a personal space - a house, a flat, a room - into the virtual world

- Tbilisi Contemporary Ballet

The staging came amid a number of productions premiered by the contemporary dance troupe amid the pandemic years, with Marijan's Room, a work celebrating a Georgian woman poet of a century ago using fragments from her diaries, drawing most resemblance with the production on Lucia Joyce.

In the Bloomsday Festival selection, Lucia's Room joins films in the Joycean Shorts section, while other works will screen in Experimental Shorts and Poetry Shorts categories. Films by directors across the world have been submitted to the event, with directors from Hungary to Ireland and Hong Kong to Australia featured.

Running in partnership with the Bloomsday Festival and the James Joyce Centre, the Film Festival has been promoted as "Ireland’s most literary film festival," and will celebrate 100 years since the publication of Ulysses, Joyce's most prominent work, in 1922.

The event will run online between June 11-16 and be followed by live screenings in Dublin.