Animated Mythology (Part 5)

From Song of the Sea, directed by Tomm Moore, 2014
From Song of the Sea, directed by Tomm Moore, 2014

Another animator who has captured my attention is Tomm Moore. His work was recommended to me by my youngest daughter, Heather Irene Jones, who is a professional artist, living in Brooklyn, New York. This week, I will comment on Song of the Sea, his tale of a selkie and her role in restoring her family as well as the spiritual world. The concept behind the animation is advanced: frames drawn by hand with a childlike quality yet superior technique. It is very abstract, and I honestly saw methods of presentation I had never before seen on a screen. Also, the individual characters hover between a two-dimensional and three-dimensional quality while the overall scenes retain a very definite sense of visual depth. Finally, the choice of colors beautifully fits the theme and the plot, turning warmer and brighter during and after what I like to call the restoration sequence.

Still shot from Song of the Sea, directed by Tomm Moore, 2014.
Still shot from Song of the Sea, directed by Tomm Moore, 2014.

It is this sequence that moved me the most, which I imagine was the director’s intention. Characters that seemed comical and at least a bit hapless became nobler and more dignified while remaining identifiable, and the imagery provided an understated and spiritual abstraction. This scene also makes some endearing allusions to the significance of family and the restoration of character and relationships. Next week: a look at Tomm Moore’s other feature length animation.

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