Moomin fever in London and Bury
The 65th anniversary of Moomins has shown that the hippopotamus-looking white creatures are as timely as ever in Britain. In addition to several new publications in 2010, the Moomins have now captivated the country by a movie and an art exhibition.
The animated film Moomins and the Comet Chase was shown to a full audience in the opening screening of the London Children’s Film Festival. Elsewhere, the Magical Moominvalley exhibition is shown in Bury Art Gallery till the mid-January.
This autumn, the magical atmosphere of the Moominvalley can be sensed north of Manchester, in Bury. On display at Bury Art Gallery are not only Tove Jansson’s original Moomin illustrations but also her less-known examples of illustrations published in Finnish daily newspapers, as well as illustrations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. One of the exhibition halls is even turned to a woody fantasyland inspired by the tale Moomins and the Great Flood.
In his speech at the exhibition opening, Ambassador Pekka Huhtaniemi emphasized Tove Jansson’s gentle anarchy as part of her appeal. “In our modern world, many people, young and old, feel hard-pressed by obligations, dead-lines, rules and strict codes. For them, Tove Jansson has offered an imaginary world where tolerance, tenderness and mutual acceptance dominate. Ultramodern concepts such as ‘downshifting’ seem to capture the essence of Jansson’s many creations which saw daylight already half-a-century ago.”
The exhibition is on display at Bury Art Galley until the 15th of January. During the exhibition several family events are held, especially on Saturdays.
Enthusiastic reception for Moomins in 3D
The London Children’s Film Festival opened with the Moomins this year, the animated film Moomins and the Comet Chase being the first screening of the festival. The thrilling 3D movie portrays Moomintroll, Sniff and Snufkin’s journey all the way to the observatory of the Lonely Mountains. In the observatory intelligent professors can certainly tell if the red comet shining in the sky is a threat to the Moominvalley inhabitants.
Before the premiere a Moomin-themed breakfast party was held, where Moomintroll himself greeted children and the childlike. Michael Morpurgo, one of the most famous British authors of children’s books and a devoted Moomin fan, read an extract from Tove Jansson’s novel Finn Family Moomintroll. “Finns are different from us. They are different in a sense that they really appreciate children and good stories”, he said. “When you read Moomin books, you’re in the hands of a great writer. Reading the books of Tove Jansson takes you into her own world, into her own little island”.
For more photos of the breakfast party, please see our Facebook page:
Text: Tiina Heinilä and Olli Turtiainen, Embassy of Finland
Photos: Tampere Art Museum, LCFF, Tiina Heinilä