It's a shame that Tove Jansson is mostly associated with the Moomin characters she created. Not to say that these books and cartoons weren't great - they are. It's just that her other books, and her art, have remained quite off the radar. My sister has talked a lot about her and Tuulikki Pietilä's book "Anteckningar från en ö", published in 1996. I read the book, and was awestruck by it. In "Haru, yksinäisten saari", video clips filmed by Jansson & Pietilä are accompanied by Birgitta Ulfsson's reading of some of the texts in the book. Ulfsson's humorous delivery (in Finnish, for some reason, or are there two copies?) fits the material since it brings out its warmth and no-nonsense perception of life in the archipelago. Jansson & Pietilä spent many summers in the archipelago, on an island inhabited by nobody else.
Tove Jansson writes about their day-to-day life on a secluded island. She talks about the surroundings, but there's no hint of pastoral sentimentalism. Her observations are dry, and very evocative. But it is the pictures, the clips, that truly make the text come alive. The transformations of nature; wind, sunshine, rain, but also their daily activities. Fishing, resting, boat trips - dancing.
When I read the book, my immediate reaction was that this is one of the most moving accounts of love I've ever come across in my life. That impression stuck with me when watching the film - watching how one of the women films the other. Watching their faces, usually smiling, cracking up into a hearty, beaming smile.
RinneRadio, a Finnish jazz/electronica band, performs most of the music. A good choice of music, if you ask me. The only thing that puzzled me - amused me! - was the use of Scott McKenzie's "San Franscisco" in combination with pictures of one of the women's joyous dancing movements. It's a long way from Frisco to Pellinge. But maybe that's the point.
I also want to recommend the documentary about Pietilä's and Jansson's travels together.
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