Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Eleganssi / Elegance

Eleganssi. Please click to enlarge.
    Director: Virpi Suutari
    Country: Finland
    Year: 2016. © 2015
    Length: 26 min
    Rating: K7
    Format: 2K DCP
    Cinematography: Jani Kumpulainen
    Editing: Jussi Rautaniemi
    Audio: Olli Huhtanen
    Music: Sanna Salmenkallio
    Production: Virpi Suutari / Euphoria Film Oy
    Languages: Finnish, Swedish. Subtitles: English by Aretta Vähälä.
    DocPoint, Helsinki. Screener link viewed at home.
    Featuring: Jorma Ollila, Heikki A. Reenpää, Antti Herlin.
    Instruments: cembalo, viola da gamba, fipple flute.
    Andorra: Wednesday 27.1. at 17:00. Kinopalatsi 8: Friday 29.1. klo 17:15

Festival catalogue and website: "Director Virpi Suutari’s Elegance is a real pearl for a film, a carefully planned and constructed masterpiece. Usually portrait documentaries are set in three locations: home, work and play. In this unusual documentary film we follow three powerful leaders only at play, doing something they truly love."

"For hunting is the one thing these leaders have in common. And as we follow them from the office to the forest, we get to glimpse into the private personalities of the legendary publisher Heikki A. Reenpää and the corporate leaders Antti Herlin and Jorma Ollila. Don’t expect any trade secrets, but we do get to see these big shots out of their board room habitat, as players in this ancient, carefully choreographed blood ritual. Sanna Salmenkallio’s cembalo music echoes the centuries past thus emphasizing Jani Kumpula9nen’s composition, which is undeniably influenced by the stilllebens of classic art."

"Men and hunting dogs create a new pack, a new tribe, and finally we see the powerful trio in a different light, as men instead of suits. The hunting dogs and their unruly behaviour even allow us to smile at the mortality of these moguls. As we follow the quarry from the hunting grounds to the hands of chefs and white-gloved butlers, and all the way to the fancy dining halls, we are following an allegory of the society and the pedigree of both men and dog.
" Kira Schroeder / Translation: Tuomo Karvonen

AA: Renowned for her remarkable portraits of the marginalized (Joutilaat [the title means about the same as I vitelloni] with Susanna Helke, and Hilton!) in cinéma vérité style Virpi Suutari now creates a film about the business elite in the style of Dutch Golden Age painting.

Two years ago Suutari released a delightful documentary feature called Eedenistä pohjoiseen / North of Eden. It was about gardens as expressions of relationships. The splendid cinematography was by Heikki Färm, and the wonderfully playful score by Sanna Salmenkallio. All protagonists were memorable, but especially impressive was Mr. Heikki A. Reenpää, a great cultural figure, also an unforgettable presence in that movie.

Elegance is about hunting trips. Three of the greatest Finnish executives, Jorma Ollila, Heikki A. Reenpää, and Antti Herlin go hunting in late summer and in the autumn. They hunt grey partridges in the company of their white setters and other hunting dogs. There are also Finnish forest reindeer (metsäpeura, tbc). In the final sequence they join a formal dinner to feast on their prey.

These men are highly public figures, but this is no time to talk business. Hunting is for focusing the mind on something different. Hunting is not an elite preoccupation in Finland. It is the thing to do in the countryside. We might expect a satirical or ironical angle in a film like this. There isn't any.

Jorma Ollila tells about the hunter who remembered the entrance of every moose but not every prime minister. The great storyteller is Reenpää (born in 1922!). In Düsseldorf there was a picnic on the grass with Gräfin Gorgonzola and Françoise Dorléac. Also a King of Sweden appears in an anecdote.

The wonder cinematographer this time is Jani Kumpulainen. Elegance is a feast for the eye in each shot. Again Sanna Salmenkallio creates a delightful and original score, this time with Baroque instruments.

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