Cartoon Saloon and Tomm Moore’s The Secret Of Kells was a very beautiful, tender and exquisitely crafted feature film, but their follow up, Song Of The Sea (available now on DVD and Blu-ray), was on another level entirely. It was even more beautiful, more tender and even more exquisitely crafted, as well as being smarter, richer and more cogent, coherent and complete.
One was a very good film, the other was a genuine masterpiece. Maybe Cartoon Saloon will soon become as widely known and well-loved as Pixar and Studio Ghibli.
The studio’s next film is to be The Breadwinner, Norah Twomey’s adaptation of Deborah Ellis’ novel about a girl going undercover as a boy in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan so that she can provide for her family. We should be seeing this on screen in 2017.
Then, Cartoon Saloon’s next feature is expected to be Tomm Moore’s third, and another piece of Irish folklore. As you can see from the two images of early design work (which you can see bu clicking on the gallery at the top), Moore is dabbling with lycanthropy, though with a definite twist.
Those were published to Tumblr by Moore himself.
Note that Will Collins, screenwriter of Song Of The Sea, is working with Moore again, and this time there’s a credit for Ross Stewart as co-director.
There’s (perhaps inevitably) something a little reminiscent of Brave in these images, and also of Moore’s first two pictures, but thousands of years haven’t worn a hole in this kind of folklore, so I can’t see how a handful of feature films has any chance of drying the well of fresh, tasty material.
According to Moore, who I been lucky enough to have interviewed for almost as many websites as I have now published glowing recommendations for Song Of The Sea, the film draws on Oliver Cromwell’s decision to ‘tame Ireland’ by slaughtering their wolves.
Just a few months ago, Moore was saying his protagonist would be a boy. It now seems to be a young lady called Robyn – not the Swedish musician, probably just as cool.
The inclusion of a character called Mebh (pronounced like Maeve, if you didn’t know) might be an allusion to Táin Bó Cúailnge, the episode of the Ulster cycle that deals with the driving off of the cows of Cooley.
Whether it’s wolves, cows, snakes, giants, or the Irish people themselves, stories of Ulster so often seem to come around to exoduses or extinctions. Great and resonant material, and I’m sure Cartoon Saloon are going to make something wonderful of it. I doubt we’ll see it before 2018 though no date has been set as yet.
There’s more animation news in my big round-up. It’s a couple of days old now, but there’s another one coming soon…