Friday, August 06, 2010

Muumi ja punainen pyrstötähti / Moomins and the Comet Chase

Mumintrollen på kometjakt. FI 2010. PC: Oy Filmkompaniet Alpha / FST5 / Filmoteka Narodowa / Jupiter-Film / Mainostelevisio MTV3. P: Tom Carpelan. P for Stereoscape: Ilkka Peltola. D+ED: Maria Lindberg. A felt cloth puppet animation compilation from the original Polish tv series Opowiadania Muminkow / Muumien maailma / The Moomins (PL 1977-1982) by Se-Ma-For Studios. Creator and co-screenwriter in the original series: Tove Jansson - based on her novel Kometjakten / Mumintrollen på kometjakt (Muumipeikko ja pyrstötähti, 1946). SC: Joel Backström, Iivo Baric, Minna Karvonen, Anders Larsson. 3D: Stereoscape. Credit sequence animation (2010): Antonia Ringbom. M: Andrzej Rokicki. Theme song "The Comet Song" (2010) composed and sung by: Björk with lyrics by Sjón. Narrator (Finnish and English versions): Tapani Perttu / Max von Sydow. Voice talent (Finnish and English versions): Tapani Perttu / Stellan Skarsgård (Muumipappa / Moominpappa), Jasper Pääkkönen / Alexander Skarsgård (Muumipeikko / Moomin), Taneli Mäkelä / Peter Stormare (Nuuskamuikkunen / Snufkin), Ilpo Mikkonen / Mads Mikkelsen (Nipsu / Sniff), Elsa Saisio / Helena Mattsson (Niiskuneiti / Snork Maiden), Johanna Viksten / Kathleen Fee (Muumimamma / Moominmamma), Outi Alanen / ? (Pikku Myy / Little My), Jarmo Koski / Stellan Skarsgård (Hemuli / Hemulens). 77 min. Distributed by FS Film in the Finnish-speaking version. 3D: Xpand. Viewed at Tennispalatsi 1, Helsinki, 6 August 2010 (day of global premiere)

Reportedly the first Nordic 3D feature film.

I liked the first compilation based on the Polish Se-Ma-For animated television series, Muumi ja vaarallinen juhannus, faithful to the Tove Jansson spirit, also because its relaxed attitude is a refreshing alternative to the current mainstream hyperactive ADHD trend in animation. The new compilation is equally successful, and there is nothing wrong with the 3D. Myself, I finally took the 3D glasses off to enjoy a brighter image with a fuller sense of colour definition.

Although the tempo is relaxed, this is an adventure film and a catastrophe movie. A comet threatens the Earth, and Moomin together with Sniff and Snufkin (later joined by Hemulens, as well) embark on a raft to the Lonely Mountains observatory tower to find out all about it. They are thrown to the bottom of the Earth, Moomin rescues Snork Maiden from a toxic angostura tree, the ocean disappears, they are threatened by an octopus, a swarm of locusts devours everything that is green, and they are caught by a tornado.

Tove Jansson (1914-2001) while she was alive was one of my top three Finnish living authors (the other two being Veikko Huovinen and Origo, both now also dead within the last year), my favourite novel of hers being The Magic Winter. She created the Moomin characters for fantasy novels in 1939 (published 1945-1970), picture books (1952-1993), and comic strips (1947- , in the 1950s with together with her brother Lars Jansson, and by Lars Jansson alone until 1975). Since the 1940s there were also Moomin adaptations for the theatre and the radio. Since 1965 there have been television adaptations in Great Britain, Sweden, Japan, the Soviet Union, and so on. The first Moomin cinema feature film was the Japanese anime Tanoshii Moomin Ikka: Moomin-dani no suisei / Comet in Moominland / Muumipeikko ja pyrstötähti (Hiroshi Saito, JP/NL 1992) based on the same novel as Moomins and the Comet Chase.

Tove Jansson, a multi-talented author and painter, was an anti-Fascist cartoonist in the 1930s. She was a Renoirian artist with a spirit of love and tolerance; a Lesbian in an age when it was against the law in Finland. She belonged to Finland's Swedish-speaking community well-known for their good family and friendship networks and high regard for culture and tolerance.

Moomin and the Comet Chase, Tove Jansson's second Moomin novel, was written in an age of devastation (World War II, Hitler, Stalin, Hiroshima), and it is a poetic vision of it. Remarkably, this catastrophe story is devoid of panic. Panic is observed humoristically in others but our protagonists do not succumb to it. Reality must be faced but without despair.

Tove Jansson creates the Moomin Valley as the counter-image (Gegenbild) to the current state of world affairs. It is a tender and gentle but powerful image with strong roots. On a personal note, I often think about my childhood as Moomin Valley. On a national level, our current president, Ms. Tarja Halonen, is sometimes referred to as Moominmamma.

PS 23 Aug 2010. Reading a history of world literature I recognize the affinity of Tove Jansson with the spirit of Horace (Horatius). He lived in an era of calamity with an attitude of carpe diem (seize the day), aequam memento rebus in ardius servare mentem (keeping his calm in the middle of adversity), ridentem dicere verum (speaking the truth with a sense of fun), amara lento temperet risu (soothing bitterness with a smile) and vivitur parvo bene (remembering that one can find happiness in modesty).

No comments: