FEBRUARY 5: Vivica Bandler (1917-2004)

365daysoflesbians:

Do you know the Moomins? Well, then, you may have already come across Vivica Bandler (albeit in a much different physical appearance) without knowing it.

Born a hundred years ago exactly, Vivica Aina Fanny Bandler is mostly known within literaty and theater circles for popularizing avant-garde Finnish theater (it’s not that niche).

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She’d studied in Paris in the 1930s, under a French movie director, and got involved early on in the artistic scene in Finland, but when she tried to become a movie director in her home country, she found it to be highly difficult – her gender restrained opportunities for her. She ended up getting a degree in agriculture, and becoming an agronomist.

She didn’t give up on the arts scene, though. In 1939, she founded Helsinki’s first Swedish student theater, Studentteaternin, and served as its director. She was often asked to work as the official translator when foreign film directors would come visit and film in the country. Her work and impact were recognized nationally when she was awarded the Order of the Lion of Finland, in 1969.

Now to the Moomins. Vivica Bandler was married, to a guy, but she did have an affair with none other than Tove Jansson, the Finnish writer who created the Moomin series. They exchanged many letters, and Jansson actually created two characters based on themselves: Thingumy and Bob. The affair didn’t last, but Bandler and Jansson did remain lifelong friends.

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If you understand Finnish, then you might find pretty interesting information on this website dedicated to her life & work.

– AK