Creativity and The Secret of Kells

I truly enjoyed The Secret of Kells last week.  Not only did I think that it was a creative way of depicting the story of an illuminator, but it was an vividly beautiful movie.  What I found incredibly interesting, which we discussed in class, was the relationship between both Brother Aiden and Uncle Callach with Brendan.  Brendan’s relationship with Aiden seemed to be one which encouraged creativity and promoted openness and freedom.  However, his relationship with his uncle was one of stifling creativity due to his sole focus on achieving a singular goal; building a wall.  These opposite opinions stuck with me after the movie, and were something that I thought was important to discuss.

I think the difference between these two relationships is an incredibly common theme that has been seen in the history of art.  Uncle Callach felt that the wall was the sole goal for the entire community in Kells, and would not begin to discuss the possibility of Brendan trying something different.  This reminded me a lot of how during World War II Hitler believed Modern art to be a disgrace, and held the Degenerate Art Exhibition.  While I do feel like comparing Uncle Callach to Hitler can be a bit harsh, the same idea is evident.  There have constantly been power figures who have stifled the development of art, culture and talent, but there are those like Brother Aiden who encourage this development of talent.  It is these figures in history that are responsible for art.

One Reply to “Creativity and The Secret of Kells”

  1. Caroline,

    I agree that Brendan’s relationships with his uncle and Brother Aiden are interesting and that Aiden serves as a beacon of creativity and the value of art in the movie. However, I feel like you’re judging Cellach too harshly. In my opinion, he tries to dissuade Brendan from helping with the Book of Kells not because of a disdain for art, but because of a strong desire to keep his nephew safe. He knows that the place Aiden was working on the book before was destroyed and suspects that the villains will follow him to Kells. His obsession with the wall stems from a sense of duty to keep the people of Kells safe. He doesn’t want Brendan getting close with Aiden because he has seen that Aiden values the book above his own life and is afraid that Brendan will get hurt is he becomes involved. Whether or not it is right to value the preservation of such a beautiful and important book enough to risk one’s life to save it is another question, but I think it’s important to understand that Cellach is not anti-art, he just has things he thinks are more worth protecting.

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