Vacation on the Riviera with the Moomins
The Finnish-French theatrical animated feature Moomins on the Riviera will be released in the U.S. on December 4th in one theater; the Laemmle Royal Theater, 11523 Santa Monica Boulevard, (West) Los Angeles 90025, for one week to qualify it for the 2015 Best Animated Feature Oscar at next year’s Academy Award presentations. It will also become eligible for ASIFA-Hollywood's 2015 Annie Awards.
Les Moomins sur la Riviera is an 80-minute 2014-2015 co-production of Pictac Cie. in France and Handle Productions in Finland, co-directed by Xavier Picard and Hanna Hemilä, in honor of Tove Jansson’s 100th birthday. It’s an adaptation of the “Moomins on the Riviera” sequence in her and her brother Lars’ Moomin 1954-1975 comic strip, produced in cel animation in her signature art style. The entire Moomin family of forest trolls, and all their friends, go to the French Riviera for their vacation. Their unity is threatened as Moominpappa is drawn into the sophisticated world of Marquis Mongaga, and Snorkmaiden (Moomin’s girlfriend) is toyed with by playboy Clark Tresco. They ultimately are glad to get home to Moominvalley.
Les Moomins sur la Riviera is considered a 2015 release in French-speaking Europe – most of the production was done by Pictac – but a 2014 Finnish feature in much of the rest of the world. It was released on October 10, 2014 in Finland and on October 31, 2014 in Sweden, to celebrate Jansson’s 100th birthday (August 9, 1914), and was extremely popular there. It was shown in English on October 11 at the 2014 BFI London Film Festival, and was a 2015 English-language release in the U.K.
The Moomins were animated on Japanese television during the 1970s. Tove Jansson hated it; it looked good, but the Japanese producers threw out her stories and wrote their own. Presumably she would have approved of this movie since it follows her own comic-strip sequence. Whether or not Finnish forest trolls are anthropomorphic animals is debatable, but the Moomins look enough like anthro hippopotamuses to satisfy most furry fans. Their mouths don't move (in fact, they're never seen) which must have made them popular with the animators.
When it will receive a general theatrical release in the U.S., or even if it will get a general American theatrical release, instead of going directly to a kid's DVD, well, who knows?