Thursday, 18 May 2017

World Cinema: The Secret of Kells (2009)

The Secret of Kells as directed by Tomm More and Nora Twomey, Is an Irish animation based around the Book of Kells, a book containing the four gospels of the New Testament. The animation follows Brendan as he lives within the walls of the Abbey of Kells, run by his uncle Abbot Cellach. As the film progresses Brother Aidan, an illuminator arrives at the Abbey with the Book of Kells and begins to tell Brendan many stories and tales around the book. As Brendan becomes closer with Brother Aidan, Brendan goes outside of the walls in a bid to find the needed material for Brother Aidan to continue his writings in the Book of Kells.

The entire film breathes Irish heritage throughout, from the voice actors to the art design of the entire animation, It shows clear influence of Celtic designs from the way things curve against each layer  on the flat surfaced animation. These designs make it a clear and obvious point that this film is full of Irish influence and pride, with its tales of religion, culture and the overall green colour theme throughout, it makes it come across as a strong and uniquely made piece of animation coming from Ireland.

As the story goes on, we find out that the walls around the Abbey are there to stop the incoming Viking attacks and the magic in the world around them. When Brendan ventures outside of the Abbeys walls he meets a Aisling, a mystical creature who joins him around the woods, Brendan soon begins learning more from her about the magic surrounding them, as well as from Brother Aidan. Towards the end of the film, we see Brendan separated from his uncle and he finishes the last pages of the book with Brother Aidan before he returns to the Abbey with the finished piece. The animation tells the origin story of the Book of Kells, showing the Irish culture, religion at the time and Celtic mythology well.

The film uses traditional Irish art well as the entire film is practically oozing with its influence, The film itself -although it was not a success in terms of box office- is a huge success in my opinion as it manages to achieve its goals of conveying a well crafted Irish animation, which goes on to tell the tales from Irish culture wonderfully.

Illustration List

Figure 1: Film promotional poster -

Figure 2: Film still -

Figure 3: Film still of Brendan in the Woods with Aisling - 

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