It’s a beautiful film set long ago about a boy named Brendan who lives in the walled up community of Kells among monks, poor folk, and his uncle, the Abbot Cellach. Brendan has never been outside the walls until the greatest illuminator of the age, Brother Aidan, comes to Kells and shows him the book he’s been working on. Brother Aidan sends Brendan beyond the walls for ink ingredients and Brendan discovers the beauty of the world outside, a beauty necessary to inspire his own illustrations as he trains to be Brother Aidan’s successor.
There’s a great deal more to the story, and the film itself is gorgeously animated. If you haven’t seen it, please do. I loved the film when I first saw it. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out the same filmmakers had later made another film inspired by Irish (and Scottish) legend called Song of the Sea.
The story begins with a lighthouse keeper and his family, who live on an island. His pregnant wife, Bronagh paints a mural of a selkie — a legendary creature who is human on the land, and a seal in the ocean — on a bedroom wall with their son, Ben, in preparation for the new baby who will soon arrive. But that night, Ben’s mother disappears, and his sister Saoirse shows up in her place. Six years later, Ben is still angry with Saoirse, who he bullies and blames for their mom’s disappearance. Their father, Conor, is depressed and goes out drinking every year on the anniversary of his wife’s disappearance. That night, the night of Saoirse’s 6th birthday, she finds a sealskin coat in her father’s closet and wanders into the ocean, becoming a seal. Conor’s mother, who’s visiting, finds Saoirse asleep on the shore in the middle of the night and decides once and for all to take the children to live in the city on the mainland where they’ll be safe. At first, the children try to make their way back to the island, but soon they get mixed up in a far bigger adventure.
Everything about this movie is beautiful, from the animation to the legends to the songs sung. Watch it to kick off your weekend with a bit of magic. (And speaking of magic, Brendan Gleeson aka “Mad-Eye” Moody lends his voice to the film, as Conor. He also voiced Abbot Cellach in The Secret of Kells.)
Happy Friday 🙂