No need to be a Tove Jansson fan, or to know anything about her to enjoy Escape From Moomin Valley, it’s such a visual pleasure.
Tove Jansson (1914-2001) a member of Finland’s Swedish minority, achieved fame and presumably, fortune, through Moomins, creatures of her own invention who look vaguely like upright hippos. Moomins appeared in children’s books and a long-running comic strip; they are available as figurines, plush toys and printed on assorted bags, mugs, aprons, pencil cases, notebooks, etc. (Local publisher Drawn & Quarterly printed a large volume of her work in 2006.)
Jansson wrote short stories for adults and plays, as well, but she always considered herself a painter first and foremost. That’s what she wrote on her tax return, according to Escape From Moomin Valley.
Jansson came from an arty family; her father was a sculptor, her mother a graphic artist. She was expected to be an artist and a good one, too.
The film uses lots of photos, sketches, paintings and extracts read from Jansson’s letters and diaries to fill us in on her family life (she often argued with her father) her friends, her art classes and her travels. She studied in Stockholm and Paris, and visited Dresden, Brittany and Florence. Probably many other places, too. She was a forceful character and her art is wonderful to look at. Her studio is quite impressive, too. You might be jealous!
Jansson speaks briefly in the film and there are many remarks from her brothers, niece, and childhood friends.
Escape From Moominvalley is being shown as part of a double bill with the 55-minute film J.R.R. Tolkien: des mots, des mondes. A review of that is coming up! There’s a connection, too – while I don’t remember it in Escape From Moominvalley, Jansson illustrated a Swedish edition of The Hobbit.
Sunday, March 29, 2015, 1:30 pm, J.A. de Sève Theatre, McConnell Library Building, Concordia University, 1400 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Escape From Moominvalley
Finland, Denmark, Sweden / 2014 / Color / 58 Min / Finnish S.T. English
Escape From Moominvalley
Realisation: Charlotte Airas
Script: Charlotte Airas, Kimmo Kohtamäki
Cinematography: Timo Peltonen
Sound: Pietari Koskinen
Editing: Kimmo Kohtamäki
Music: Pessi Levanto
Narration: Ylva Ekblad
Participation(s): Sophia Jansson, Per Olof Jansson, Boel Westin, Erik Kruskopf, Boris Konickoff, Tuula Karjalainen
Producer(s): Kaarle Aho
Production: Making Movies
Distribution: Making Movies
The Festival International du Film sur l’Art, known as FIFA, runs until Sunday, March 29, 2015. Visit the web site www.artfifa.com for more information