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NORA

UK, 2000 (MIFF 2000, International Panorama)

Director: Pat Murphy

Nora is the extraordinary true story of James Joyce, the scandalous Irish writer and Nora Barnacle, the simple servant girl who became his lover and muse. Pat Murphy's lavish film chronicles a passionate affair fuelled in equal measure by sexual hunger, jealousy, separation and poverty. Set in an intense 10-year period between 1904-1914, when Joyce had yet to be published, Nora traces the lovers from their first nervous meeting on a Dublin street, to their fervent days in Trieste Italy. Concerned with character rather than milieu, the film draws its emotional centre from autobiographical elements in Joyce's story, The Dead - most notably, Joyce's contradictory reactions as man and artist. Faultless art direction and costume design, combined with the sumptuous vistas of Trieste lend Nora a richness equal to Joyce's: writings. Starring Ewan McGregor (Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, Emma, The Pillow Book) as Joyce and Susan Lynch (Waking Ned Devine) in a career-making turn as Nora this is sure to be a festival highlight.

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