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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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The Oscar mystery nomination: The Secret of Kells

May Contain Spoilers

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"Wait until you see the rest of my forest," says Aisling, before she leads Brendan to the top of an oak tree. That remark by a guardian of the forest describes "Brendan and the Secret of Kells." This deceptively simple story of a young Irish monk has hidden dimensions beneath its lush, exuberant visuals. To praise its beauty alone becomes an understatement. Its beautifully realised storytelling is rich in symbols, analogies and themes, some obvious and others not so, that give weight and meaning to a seemingly uncomplicated story, set against a mixture of history, fantasy, reality and myth.

I and Pangur Ban my cat, Tis a like task we are at: Hunting mice is his delight, Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men Tis to sit with book and pen; Pangur bears me no ill will, He too plies his simple skill.

Tis a merry thing to see, At our tasks how glad are we, When at home we sit and find Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray, In the hero Pangur's way; Oftentimes my keen thought set, Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye, Full and fierce and sharp and sly;'Gainst the wall of knowledge, All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its denO how glad is Pangur then!O what gladness do I proveWhen I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our tasks we ply, Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;In our arts we find our bliss, I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made, Pangur perfect in his trade; I get wisdom day and night, Turning darkness into light.

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