of the five animated features nominated for academy awards last year, the only one i never got around to seeing was the secet of the kells. i don't think i even had a chance as it never quite went into wide release. personally i was rooting for fantstic mr. fox. and naturally up won. no shocker there. but having finally gotten around to watching kells, i'm completely enamored. it's really an exquisite film from beginning to end. it has the feel of a hand crafted film coupled with scope and depth and environments that are breathtaking.
the artwork ranges from graphic [action sequences in particular] to painterly, and the transition between the two seems perfectly natural. the frame is often represented as a triptych, possibly referencing the european tradition of christian art while framing the action in a way that leads the eye right to it. characters move freely in and out of these tripled spaces. and while the edges of the frames are often decoratively adorned, the image does not feel static. i think what works for me so well in this film is not just that it is a unique film with a distinct vision, but that it is deeply rooted in the artistic traditions of it's origin. the film was made in ireland- both the story and the form reflect this in a way that is fresh and authentic. if you haven't seen it, please do. you will will be inspired by how experimental and beautiful animation can [still] be.
stills from the secret of the kells directed by tomm moore, 2009