Feature

The Secret of Kells

This hand-drawn film draws inspiration from the Celtic art in the Book of Kells and tells about a 12-year-old boy’s adventures in early medieval Ireland. 

Directed by Tomm Moore
(Not Rated)

***

The Secret of Kells is a “haunting blend of history, fairy tale, and pure invention,” said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. This modestly funded, mostly hand-drawn Irish film came out of nowhere to garner an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. Directed by Tomm Moore, it draws inspiration from the Celtic art in the Book of Kells, a 1,200-year-old manuscript, beautifully illuminated by monks, that’s one of the most important artifacts of Irish culture. This enchanting tale follows a young medieval acolyte who leaves his cloistered abbey life to explore the world outside, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Meticulously chronicling the boy’s experiences, Moore and his team of Irish, French, and Belgian artists establish a “surprising and completely persuasive link between the ancient art of manuscript illumination and the modern practice of animation.” The beautiful work of these craftsmen fully earned The Secret of Kells its place alongside such better-known Oscar nominees as Pixar’s Up, said Michael Rechtshaffen in The Hollywood Reporter. Their skill and care prove that there’s still room for “old-time tradition” amid all the computer animation in Hollywood.

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