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The Bloom Mystery

Contents of Documentary

Virag Productions in conjunction with Duna TV - shot on Bloomsday 2007 in Ireland and Hungary

Producer/Director: Csilla Toldy


Who is Bloom? Who is the “all-round” man and what is his message for the modern world?  This 26 minute documentary investigates the Hungarian-Jewish influence that could have inspired Joyce in creating his hero Bloom.


We start our film in Dublin on 16th June. In a short sequence, we show what is happening in Dublin during the day.

At the James Joyce Centre we interview Senator David Norris, the founder of the Joyce Centre and an advocate of the Bloom’s Day tradition. He talks about the history of Bloomsday.

Sara Kaszap, the organiser of the Bloomsdays celebrations in Szombathely tells the story of the first Bloomsday in Szombathely “when the artists had to conjure up everything from the rain”.


While Bloom, the Irish Dubliner of the middle class is walking the streets of Dublin on 16th June 1904, his roots are going back much further, as far as Palestine, but before that, they stop for a long stay in Hungary. Why Hungary?


Hungary, Szombathely, Bloomsday. Dr Ferenc Takacs, the president of the Hungarian James Joyce Society is talking about the meaning of the Joyce statue for the people of Szombathely and about the novel Ulysses as a “modernist Bible”.


Dr Endre Toth in the Hungarian National Museum, Budapest. Dr Toth discovered that Joyce had a scholar friend called Marino de Szombathely, who translated Homer’s Ulysses from Greek to Italian at the time when Joyce was writing Ulysses. This Jewish man of Hungarian descent could have been the inspiration to choose Szombathely as Rudolf Bloom’s birthplace, and others like a photograph taken by Sandor Virag. Joyce, true to his lexical style, created three generations of the  Virag/Blum/Bloom family.


Robert Orban, historian speaks about the genealogy of the real Blum family in Szombathely and we visit the Jewish cemetery. 


Back in Dublin, we interview Stephen Mullan from Queens University Belfast, who analyses the character of Bloom in the novel.


Interview with Les Doherty at the James Joyce Centre in Dublin, acting as Bloom. He tells us why he personally loves playing Bloom.


The artist David Lilburn, explains details of his magnificent print work of the streets of Dublin and the musical references in the novel that bridge place and time.


We return to our central question: Who is Bloom, who is the all-round man and what is his message for the 21st Century. Senator Norris gives his version, quoting from the Cyclops episode: “the opposite of hatred: love”.


Screenings and festivals:


39th Hungarian Film Festival Budapest 2008

Bloomsday 2008 Szombathely

Bloomsday 2009 Open University Belfast

Bloomsday Celebration McGill University Montreal Segal Centre 2012

Bloomsday Festival Dublin 2017 Irish Writers Centre / Hungarian Embassy Dublin


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