The Secret of Kells marks our first animated Screenshot Saturday ever. A French, Irish, and Belgian made film that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature of 2009, The Secret of Kells gives a fictional account of the real life Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript completed near the 9th century by Irish monks. Throughout the film, an impending Viking invasion of Kells looms. Our protagonist, Brendan, is a young monk who journeys into an enchanted forest, and meets the fairy Aisling when she saves him from a pack of wolves.
With many historical and literary allusions, including the inclusion of such characters as Saint Aidan and Pangur Ban, the film is rich in mythology. However, the industrious scripting notwithstanding, the visual art makes the film. The animation uses traditional Celtic art style to recount Brendan’s journey, mirroring that of the illuminated manuscript itself. In this still, we watch as Pangur Ban glides fluidly down a staircase while enchanted by Aisling, casting an angular cat-like silhouette upon the wall, though the cat is incorporeal. Between the script and the artistic style, the film is a near masterpiece, and is easily enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Guy Stridsigne 1/14/2012