Li Andersson is a successful Finnish politician from the city of Turku. She is currently a Congresswoman in the Finnish parliament, and Chairwoman of the Left Alliance, one of Finland’s biggest political parties.
Ms. Andersson is known as a voracious reader and patron of the arts, so I decided to ask her what her favorite films and books are. Below are her responses.
Thank you, Li, for taking the time!
(photo credit Minna Kallinen)
Edward Scissorhands (1990, directed by Tim Burton)
I have always loved Tim Burton’s worlds, and the greatest of them is in Edward Scissorhands. Perfect mix of melancholy, critique of small-town America, and romance. Irresistible in every way!
Star Wars (1977, directed by George Lucas)
The one and only. When the digitally enhanced versions of the first three films hit the theaters, I immediately became a fan. The newer, more recent films work well, too. I’ve always liked science fiction, plus Star Wars has epic character stories and a grand, epic story that easily survives the tests of time and the development of film technology.
The Navigators (2001, directed by Ken Loach)
Ken Loach has made a lot of fantastic films throughout his career, and stayed true to his style. Of the many memorable films he has made, this one has particularly stayed with me, the story of five railway workers struggling to survive in the throes of railway privatization. A sympathetic, funny, and important account.
Vuosisadan rakkaustarina, by Märta Tikkanen (1978; not available in English)
This is one of the finest books I’ve ever read. Tikkanen’s poems deal with her life alongside Henrik Tikkanen. Through personal observations she makes manifest the effects of alcoholism on the couple’s relationship and power dynamic. She writes about her difficulties creating space for her creative work as a woman; these poems are the best example of how the personal is political. At the same time, Tikkanen’s writings lack the easy moral lessons characteristic of today’s popular culture. Though Tikkanen’s writings contain lots of emotional violence and darkness, this is also a story about love.
Egenmäktigt förfarande, by Lena Andersson (2013; available in English as Willful Disregard).
Lena Andersson has written a book about a young author named Ester Nilsson, who is desperately in love. She falls in love with an artist older than her, but his feelings don’t match hers. The writer forces the reader to follow Ester’s more and more desperate path towards an unhappy love. It’s tormenting, frustrating, and terrifying in its humanity. [Lena Andersson’s] way of using language is incredible. She uses language to create a distant relationship with Ester, and kind of depicts her actions in the way of a distant observer.
The End of Eddy, by Edouard Louis (2014; available in English)
I read this recently, and it impressed me. An autobiographical story of what it’s like to grow up gay in a working class environment on the French countryside. The story brings out the several layers of a young person’s identity as well as the discrimination related to them, and portrays the daily life and thinking of the people in the protagonist’s coming-of-age environment without melodrama. This is the kind of literature I hope to come across much more. It’s fantastic how literature can be used to bring up socially important issues, and to unravel personal experiences of class and gender.