Written and directed by Tomm Moore, Song of the Sea (2014) follows a young boy, Ben, and his younger mute sister, Saoirse, through an Irish folk tale that turns out to be more than just a story Ben heard from his mother before she died.
The film quickly builds to establish layered characters and dives into the flow of events as we discover little Saoirse, a selkie — or magical being in Irish myth that turns into a seal. Saoirse must find her voice and free the fairies and the spirit world from a spell.
The small heroes end up on a big adventure that is visually enchanting and beautifully imagined, from their home atop a coastal hill, through the Irish green countryside, and stumbling into secret fairy hideouts in the heart of the city.
The style of animation merges hand drawn techniques with the technology of CGI, and the result is a world that seems to be made of paper, hand drawings, watercolours, and transparent layers that together make the world even more magical.
Each scene is rich and filled with detail, yet the world created has a sense of vastness.
If the film’s visuals alone are not enough reason to captivate viewers, the storyline surely is. It is fresh and imaginative with interesting characters, like an ancient man with endless silver hair, each strand holding a story, and the dreaded owl witch who traps people’s feelings.
At the heart of the film is grief and a poignant exploration of handling the pain of loss. As Ben and Saoirse’s story parallels elements in the folk tale they try to unravel, the film’s themes are both subtle and clear, hitting home gracefully.
Song of the Sea promises to entertain children and adults alike, channeling the spirit of children and the complexity of grown-up emotions.
Read more on the Panoranimation section and the programme here.
Check the complete programme of Panorama for Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailia and Port Said here
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