The Secret of Kells: An Animated Masterpiece Bringing Ireland’s Rich Cultural Heritage to Life

  ”The Secret of Kells” (The Secret of Kells, 2009) is the first work produced by Cartoon Salon. It uses traditional 2D animation technology, rich and unique Irish art style and elegant and gorgeous pictures like oil paintings. countless viewers. Although it “lost” to “Up” in the 2009 Oscars for Best Animated Feature Film, but as director Tom Moore’s debut animation film, it is still a film that writes a heavy cultural tradition. A masterpiece as brilliant and vivid as a dream.
  The film is based on the Irish Christian illustrated manuscript “The Book of Kells”. It tells the story of a young man with ideals, Brandon, who overcomes many difficulties to draw the scriptures, finally understands the true meaning of life, and grows into a young missionary with holy faith. story. The works are full of pure childlike interest and deep sincerity in terms of conception and expression.
Rendering of National History and Religious Color

  It is said that monks living on a remote Scottish island are the creators of the “Book of Kells”, and now the “Book of Kells” has become Ireland’s most precious national treasure-level hand-painted classic. Legend has it that the cover of the Book of Kells was made of gold and precious stones, but the cover was torn off during the Viking invasion, and only the remains of the contents remain. This background adds a more mysterious color to the story told by the film.
  In the film, Brother Siler is the dean of Kells Abbey and a devout scripture painter. After hearing about the cruel deeds of the northern pirates, he gave up his scripture-painting task due to fear of pirates’ encroachment. , and chose to lead the monks in the monastery to build a high wall for the monastery to prevent the invasion of pirates. In his eyes, only the “wall” can stop the pirates’ attacks, protect the lives of the people and the precious “Book of Kells”. But he did not realize that the greatness of civilization lies precisely in the fact that it not only cares about the development of its own culture and the safety of its own people, but also represents humanitarianism and focuses on a community with a shared future for mankind. Although the wall can block the aggression, it will also bind oneself firmly. While obtaining a stable life, what you give up is communication with the outside world and personal freedom, not to mention that the “wall” is not indestructible. In fact, it was not the ferocious northern pirates that really defeated Brother Siler, but his own inner fear. When other monks insisted that “we can’t just build walls, people need books, and books can bring people hope”, but Brother Siler chose to lock himself in the high wall with others in order to keep his body safe——pirates It has not yet come, but it has already crushed his heart, causing him to give up his faith and have no way to have the power to resist.
  The whole story is shrouded in a layer of mysterious religious color. Europe in the 8th century AD was in the so-called dark period, the light of ancient Greek and Roman culture had gradually faded, and the heyday of Christianity had not yet come. In Ireland, since St. Patrick came here to preach, Christian thought gradually merged with local culture, and continued the spirit of Christianity with the help of these pagan art forms. It was against such a special background that the art of painted manuscripts in Ireland, represented by the Gospels of Duro, the Gospels of Kells and the Gospels of Lindisfarne, flourished, which also highlights the importance of the Book of Kells. “The important historical status and artistic value. Returning to the story itself, building a high wall is definitely not enough to prevent the intrusion of pagan ideas. To borrow the lines of Brother Aidan in the film: “The scriptures are not written to be hidden in the high wall, but to spread to the world. Turn darkness into light.”
Only faith can break through the darkness

  Brandon, a 12-year-old little monk, has the same simplicity and courage as all boys. He has been a very hard-working boy since he was a child. Together with his uncle Abbot Serage and other monks, he constantly strengthened the strength of the walls of the monastery to protect people from the invasion of Vikings. However, the arrival of monk Aidan provides Brandon with a brand new opportunity, leading him on a different journey of life. It can be said that Brandon’s belief in exploring the truth comes from his spiritual mentor-Aidan. Aidan is a master-level figure with great pioneering thinking. He once told Brandon, “If there is no book, all knowledge will pass away forever”, which is enough to see his yearning and thirst for knowledge. Under Aidan’s enlightenment, Brandon entered a spiritual art world, not only digging out his potential abilities, but also transforming them into extraordinary talents. He used to be a teenager who was afraid of the world outside the wall and firmly believed that everything outside was dangerous. It was his desire for knowledge that made him walk out of the fence step by step. In order to find the juice to write a book, he bravely walked into the seemingly beautiful and harmless forest that hides dangers. He met the leader of the wolf and the owner of the forest, Ashling. “, and finally successfully drew the “Book of Kells”, and the “Book of Kells” was passed down as the light in the darkness.

  The forest world presented by the animation is completely different from the human world. What is hidden in the forest is unknown, powerful divine power and a natural force. The most primitive darkness. Because of this, the power of faith appears so solid. From her incomprehension of Brandon’s behavior at the beginning to her active help to her final dedication, Ashling’s attitude towards the inheritance of civilization is calm and calm. Her beliefs gather the powerful divine power of nature and are not affected by man-made power. Restraint, symbolizing great freedom, has the magic power to dispel darkness.
Collision of national culture and modern aesthetics

  According to the theory of “film semiotics”, audiences understand film works through various codes. Different from the “cute” elements of Japanese animation, European and American animation emphasizes the linear processing of images, especially in Eastern European and Islamic culture, which is good at using complicated patterns to highlight the decorative style with heavy colors.
  In this film, all kinds of exquisite audio-visual symbols are integrated into the meaning of Irish history, religion and humanistic spirit. On the basis of geometric processing, the characters’ images draw on the strengths of many ancient classic decorative styles. For example, some characters retain traces of the structural lines of traditional decorative paintings; The image features of the side profile; when depicting the side profile, the creator exaggerated the curve of the shape as much as possible, expressing individuality through a simple but unassuming image, and the close-up treatment of the face refers to ancient Greek sculpture, which looks elegant and elegant. exquisite. In terms of artistic expression, the unique ethnic style of Ireland is shown by hand-painted pictures, such as the verdant and misty forests, elegant and lovely flowers, and the green and pleasant fields… and the warm and mysterious painting room, the towering The towers, sacred and solemn churches, especially the overall presentation of Kells Monastery in the 9th century AD, all reveal that they were inspired by the style of religious paintings, as if the reproduction of colorful and colorful drawings on ancient handwritten scriptures, full of It has a long-lasting charm and extravagance, mysterious, solemn and imaginative.
  If the picture is full of delicate beauty, then the soundtrack echoes with ethereal beauty. Ireland’s unique bagpipe and harp arrangement of music combined with the choir’s chorus brought an instant sense of immersion. As for the song that Ash Ling sang when she turned the cat into a ghost, the child’s voice was ethereal and clear, and the tune was melodious and melodious, which made many audience members shed tears. The dual expression of visual symbols and auditory symbols fully demonstrates the distinct national characteristics of Ireland, and also allows us to have a deeper thinking about the presentation and dissemination of national culture in Chinese animation.

  There are no secrets in the Book of Kells, but rather the reverence for writing and the unremitting pursuit of knowledge. With this belief in love, Brandon grows into a prophet, brushing away the haze and shedding sunshine for the hearts of mankind. The courage and faith to spread the truth, the responsibility and fraternity to save the world, these are universal truths. The high walls of the monastery can protect young monks, but maybe one day, even the strongest high walls will collapse, and attack is sometimes a way to save themselves. Beyond the high walls, there is not necessarily darkness, but there is also light, just like the simple emotions and wisdom that Brandon has always had, which will surely be passed down in the world.

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