Sunday, June 24, 2012

Preservation and innovation

Saturday night, my family went to see Brave, at the drive-in theater. Aside from the beautiful art created not my human hands on a surface, but digitally with the help of computers, and charming story, I saw something else in the film. I saw that the storytellers, the writers and animators who created the film, preserved something intangible and yet very honest; they captured the essence of Celtic myth, while at the same time imparting age old lessons to the viewers.

Celtic mythology is complex, fragmentary, and not well known. What has survived the passage of time has been Christianized, adapted, retold, re-purposed, and often, over-analyzed. Those pieces that survive, however, paint a portrait of peoples who held in esteem ideas like honor, obligation, right behavior and a sense of humor.  Brave preserves these spirit of the literature while at the same time speaking to a modern audience and imparting messages about creating our own destinies and the importance of family and forgiveness.

Storytellers are, in a way, educators and spiritual advisers.  They never tell us, explicitly, what to do do, but they hand us the seeds of tradition and wisdom so that we can make the decisions ourselves.  I am always deeply amazed and thankful when modern storytellers find a new way to preserve a piece of past stories that are in grave danger of being forgotten and make them new to us.

I sometimes bemoan the fact that retelling tales ofttimes changes their intended message, but at the same time, I cannot help but appreciate that each time a tale is retold, it is being given new life in a new soul making it's survival through the ages far more likely.  This is not a new worry, but it is a true test of our ability to create reality when we choose to retell or silence a story.  When we pass it on, we touch the past and the future.  When we don't we close the book of the past and let ideas, sometimes for good reason, die. 


  1. Ooh... this definitely makes me want to see Brave! Thanks for the review. I was intrigued by the trailer, but this seals the deal. It's a Must See now.

    I also love your take on story tellers. Too true!

    1. You are very welcome, Joanna. I hope you enjoy both the film and this blog.


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