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22.12.2013
When hearing the title of the movie, The Secret of Kells, directed by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey in 2009, one surely conjures up in one’s mind the image of the Book of Kells.
The animated movie The Secret of Kells provides us with an alternative story of the creation of the Book of Kells, probably the most famous of all the illuminated manuscripts. Brendan’s adventures and the magical world surrounding him reveal us the real treasure of this animation, which surely lies in the presence of allusions to Celtic mythology. Apart from the beautiful message, The Secret of Kells also comprises the finest quality as far as both auditory and visual properties are concerned. However, the elaborateness and richness of detail may sometimes result in confusion and visual challenge.
I noticed that Brendan has a crush on Aisling.  It is hard to impress a fairy, but Brendan tried his best and eventually succeeded!
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview director Tomm Moore from Ireland who made The Secret of Kells as his first feature length animation.  I asked him what inspired him to become a filmmaker in animation.
Moore studied in the college Don Bluth helped set up – Ballyfermot Senior College but by the time he graduated, they had returned to the US. According to director Moore, “Aisling is based a little on my younger sister, she had a similar personality, (a little pest!) and she had big eyes and bushy eyebrows, pink knees from climbing trees and playing outdoors and pale skin. I asked Moore if Aisling was made up or based on Ireland legand, he said, “She’s mostly made up as a representation of all the old Pagan gods and creatures who went before.
Friendship can heal your worries.  The path to enlightenment takes courage, creativity, and perseverance. Perry’s debut on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric in 2009 made him a national sensation.  He has been featured extensively on Fox, KUSI, CW channel 6 San Diego Living, San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego Family Magazine, San Diego Magazine, SDNN, Art Rocks! It is truly this book, one of the greatest works of art ever made, which is the main focus of the movie.


If you take the trouble to look very closely and penetrate with your eyes to the secrets of the artistry, you will notice such intricacies so delicate and subtle, so close together and well-knitted, so involved and bound together, and so fresh still in their colourings that you will not hesitate to declare that all these things must have been the result of work not of men but of angels.
It takes us back to the 7th century to the Abbey of Kells, where a young orphan boy named Brendan lives with his uncle Abbott Cellach and other monks learning the craft of illuminating manuscripts. Throughout the story we see names like Aisling—standing for an Irish poetic genre—in Irish meaning ‘dream’ that faithfully resembles the fairy nature of the character carrying the name. Therefore, people who are not very fond of surreal art may sometimes find themselves submersing in the backgrounds. In spite of the fact that The Secret of Kells is an animation, it is not meant to be watched only by children.
So he set up his own studio Cartoon Saloon with some friends back in the premises of Young Irish Filmmakers in Kilkenny. Brendan is a very inquisitive and imaginative child, all the time carrying a chalk in his pocket, to be ready to explain anything by drawing. Another reference to the Irish culture is hidden in the name of Aiden’s cat Pangur Ban, which represents an Old Irish poem written by an Irish monk about his cat Pangur Ban, whose name in English means ‘white fuller’.
Its hand-drawn animation playing with ornaments, colours and minimalist geometrical shapes—which remind us of miniature clock apparatuses—is simply dazzling.
And so, to enjoy the animation fully, it is simply necessary to get used to its style and learn how to orientate oneself in it. I was a member of Young Irish Filmmakers, a group in my hometown of Kilkenny for children and young people who were interested in making their own films.
I made several designs of her to try and find a fairy type character but also one that felt like a real little girl, so I based it on my sister. His uncle—a very serious man—cares only about the construction of the wall and the safety of the people living in Kells.


The kaleidoscopic landscape of images is constantly shifting with its little circles and polygons whirling around.
One of its memorable scenes is when Brendan can see the book for the first time and cries, “The work of angels!” But Brother Aidan just shakes his head and says, “It is the work of mere mortals, like you and me.” And truly, Brendan, after all, becomes one of those participating in the creation of that angelic manuscript. In reality, the name symbolizes a deity in pre-Christian Ireland that demanded human sacrifice, and so it perfectly fits its bearer.
Probably the most impressive moment is the revelation of Aisling’s forest with its never-ending rows of trees, sun rays penetrating their dense foliage, floating mists and the air full of different scents and mystical sounds of animals. However, one day the legendary illuminator Brother Aiden arrives at the abbey bringing with him his book and his cat Pangur Ban.
This way we could continue with many more examples referring to Ireland’s history and folklore, but I presume that this glance into the movie is sufficient to make us see how important one’s culture actually is.
This magical atmosphere is even more emphasized by amazing Irish music composed by Bruno Coulais. He was driven from his home island by the attacks of Viking hordes and now looks for safety in the Abbey of Kells. Brendan immediately becomes enchanted by Brother Aiden, who discovers the boy’s talent for drawing and gives him a task to finish the book.
Under his influence, Brendan leaves the walls of the abbey for the first time in his life and experiences new adventures and discovers the beauties of the magical forest accompanied by his new friend Aisling, in fact a fairy spirit and a guardian of the forest.



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