The Other Side of Hope
Finland’s master of deadpan comedy, Aki Kaurismäki (Lights in the Dusk, Le Havre), returns with the story of an unlikely friendship between a Syrian asylum seeker and an elderly Finnish restaurant owner. Worthy winner of the 2017 Berlin Silver Bear for Best Director, it’s a beautiful, timely film from one of the world’s leading auteurs.
Khaled (Sherwan Haji) arrives at the port of Helsinki concealed in a coal container, fleeing war-torn Syria to seek asylum in Finland. Dazed and frustrated by the monolithic administration he encounters at the detention centre, he makes a break for it and heads out onto the streets. There he meets Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen), a former shirt salesman who has recently left his alcoholic wife for a new life as a bachelor restaurateur.
Together, they help each other to navigate the adversities they face in these unfamiliar and often baffling new worlds. With hilarious sight gags, poker-faced one-liners and a toe-tapping rockabilly soundtrack, Kaurismäki’s latest balances his unparalleled wit with a pressing critique of the unforgiving bureaucracy that greets vulnerable asylum seekers in modern-day Europe. Humane and sincere, it’s proof of cinema’s power to tell stories that matter, with beauty and heart.
"Kaurismaki unashamedly believes in brotherhood, and among other things his film celebrates people who do the right thing without making a big deal about it."
"It's at once honest and artful, a touching and clearsighted declaration of faith in people and in movies."
"Despite its serious subject - the refugee crisis hitting Europe - The Other Side of Hope is also very funny, never losing sight of the droll, comic upside to life, but never making light of tragedy, either."
Directed by Aki Kaurismaki
In English and Finnish with English Subtitles
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