Blogger ate random part of my last try. Let's try again...
Someone is bound to be upset about my posting this but there was a conversation about violence earlier. Last night we watched the The Secret of Kells. Apparently it found a wider audience in Europe than here, understandably so. Some Americans look for God's divine direction and intervention in our history. Many other cultures can do that as well. I would use this movie more to stimulate discussion and conversation than for use as a teaching tool but understand that the Book of Kells contains the four gospels, hand-written during the dark ages with extravagantly illuminated (illustrated) handwork combining the best of Irish handwork and iconography.
I found it rather fascinating from an artistic point of view. It is also an interesting interpretation of events.
Do your research first. I'd read "How the Irish Saved Civilization," one of my favorite books, maybe because I learned alot about the church that I'd never heard before. I also played with drawing Celtic knot patterns for a while after we celebrated St.Pat's Day at Artisan a few years back, looking for activities for the kids. As with any creative endeavor they tend to take on a life of their own. It would probably also help to know the legends of Kells & Iona and the saints featured in the story and the background on the fairy which I didn't read ahead. Try picture books from your local library.
You can look at it as a story about the Christian and Pagan cultures of one people/one place joining forces to face an enemy from the outside but there are many many layers. The main character is a child. The adults in the story, the child, the fairy, the community, all have their own individual battles to win. There's also the intergenerational differences about what's important. If you focus your children on unconditional obediance don't waste your time watching this although Brendan's gentle "no" is obviously for a higher cause. The Irish monks were known for being softer than those from the Roman church which comes across in their voices and dialogue but not neccessarily the face of the abbot. All in all, a fascinating movie about faith and culture, internal and external foes, generational differences, fear, literacy, nature, art and spirit . . . lots, lots, lots! Though the movie doesn't focus on this, if you do your research, you can focus your audience on what God did.
*if my link to the movie doesn't work it's easy to find.