“I’ve lived through many ages.
I’ve seen suffering in the darkness.
Yet, I have seen beauty thrive in the most fragile of places.
And I have seen the book,
the book that turned the darkness into light”
The Secret of Roan Inish (1994) - dir. John Sayles
If you’re into super-literary films, that hinge upon themes, fully-realized characters, and narrative plot - this is the film for you. But it’s incredibly boring otherwise. Sayles spends too much of his time doing the book justice, instead of adapting it into a firm motion picture. Mick Lally was wonderful, and it is a good story though.
Brendan is a monk, orphaned at a young age when Vikings killed his parents. He lives with his uncle the Abbot, who built a wall around Kells to ward off these invaders.
One day an illuminator named Aidan sought sanctuary in Kells, bringing with him a book bound in leather and gold. Brendan was fascinated with the art of illumination, much to the Abbot’s chagrin. Aidan quickly recognized the boy’s passion, and asked him to go to the forest to pick up ingredients for ink.
What follows for Brendan is a journey of self-discovery that involves lost gods, bloodthirsty demons, and inhuman warriors, all for a book that can “turn darkness into light”.