Secret of Kells

23 Mar

oak_spiralFinally saw this movie last night (it’s available on Netflix). The art is exquisite, the story mythic, layered, the music hauntingly beautiful. I loved it. Reminds me of Miyazaki’s work, it’s that good.

It tells the story of Brendan, a boy who lives in an irish abbey of monks in the dark ages, learning the skills and magic of manuscript illumination against the well-meaning will of his uncle, the abbott. It addresses the role of art in the face of evil, as well as the power and mystery of nature as a source for spirit.

Last week in my Fairy Art class, since it was St. Patty’s Day, I read them a leprachaun story and taught them some things about illuminated manuscripts. We illuminated our intials, incorporating an animal symbol. The kids enjoyed it and each had thoughtful reasons for which animal she chose.

Preparing for it, I remembered this movie, which had been highly recommended to me years ago.

Doomspiration! To tell stories like this, tying history, religion, myth, humor, beauty, nature all together. This is my white whale. This is what Heart of the Beast and Paperhand do that thrills me. It was made by Cartoon Saloon (now in my links), an irish animation studio, and directed by Tomm Moore. They are releasing a new film this year called Song of the Sea.

After seeing it, despite a day-long headache, I was inspired to start sketching some ideas for the Woody Guthrie shadow show I’ve been tentatively planning with a friend. But it is coming out more film-ic than puppet. Wonder why…


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