Virpi Suutari has directed a visually mesmerising motion picture that plays with a sound and rhythm in a remarkable way. The Finnish documentary entitled Entrepreneur (Yrittäjä) depicts two universes and cleverly shows the differences and similarities between them. It is truly a piece of art.
Virpi Suutari’s latest documentary the Entrepreneur focuses on entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. It tells the story of the success of the start-up named Gold&Green Foods founded by Maija Itkonen and Reetta Kivelä, and the decay of Akseli Laine’s family businesses. They are all entrepreneurs, and live in Finland, but while the former two embarked on a journey because they wanted to, Akseli needed to because he lost his job. They would probably never meet in real life either; they belong to two worlds. Itkonen and Kivelä’s business grows rapidly and has several investors, Akseli and his wife can hardly sell meat and their amusement rides don’t attract so many people anymore. The dimensions and volumes of their businesses can’t be compared at all, but some comparison can be drawn between their personal struggles. Ultimately, all of them are only humans with the desire of getting by and providing enough for their families.
The Entrepreneur reflects on, let’s say, traditional and modern entrepreneurship as well as Finland’s current status as one of the most innovative countries in the world. It does it in a way that it pleases both the eyes and the ears; it plays with the pace, music, sounds, and colours. Editor Jussi Rautaniemi did an absolutely fantastic job. The film develops gradually, taking the time to create an opportunity for the viewers to fully be absorbed by the experience. The main characters are presented in their natural settings, and through their monologues and dialogues as well as the activities they participate in, their stories – both happy and sad ones – are shared. They really open up to the director and the cinematographers named Heikki Färm, Tuomo Hutri, Marita Hällfors, Jani Kumpulainen and Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen.
Virpi Suutari’s documentary is by no means biased and it doesn’t choose a side, it only shows the challenges today’s entrepreneurs – both traditional and modern ones – have to face. Nevertheless, it certainly points out that whereas a kind of business grows quickly and even foreign investors are interested, other kinds slowly but surely disappear. In a capitalist system, money speaks, and those companies that cannot generate enough profit are destined to go bankrupt. However, innovation also plays a crucial role, so companies need to find new ways to find a clientele. Of course, the situation is not black and white, there are indeed several factors that influence it. Therefore, what elevates Suutari’s Entrepreneur even higher is that it evokes questions and respects the viewers enough to let them think and decide.
Virpi Suutari is undoubtedly a talented film-maker who knows how to tell a story. She’s acquired all the tools and has the vision to create a remarkable documentary the content of which is conveyed through compelling images. The Entrepreneur is another example of great film-making, which also has the potential to make a case for watching documentaries. It definitely belongs to the same league and category as The Visit by Danish film-maker Michael Madsen.
This review is in the March issue of Cinema Scandinavia.
- Directed by Virpi Suutari
- Produced by Joonas Berghäll & Satu Majava for Oktober