The Other Side of Hope
Rated Parental Guidance (Violence) ~ Runs 98 minutes
Dir.: Aki Kaurismäki, Finland
Sherwan Haji, Sakari Kuosmanen, Janne Hyytiäinen
In Finnish, English, and Arabic with English subtitles
Winner, Best Director, Berlin International Film Festival.
Winner, Best Film, Dublin, Jerusalem, and Luxembourg Festivals.
“Relentlessly deadpan Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki’s new film The Other Side of Hope is his best since 2002’s The Man Without a Past. Like that film it’s about a stranger arriving in Helsinki with a shaky sense of his own identity, only this time Kaurismäki gives the film an added political dimension by making it about a Syrian refugee who’s been separated from his sister while fleeing their war-torn home. As is the way with Kaurismäki, he mines deeper truths about humanity by giving all his characters inscrutable poker faces. Here, though, he makes the joke even funnier by having the potential saviour of his most vulnerable character, Khaled, an actual poker player: a travelling salesman turned restaurateur called Waldemar Wikström, wonderfully played by Sakari Kuosmanen. The two characters’ stories converge in hilarious ways, but it’s the empathy the film generates – accomplished without speechifying or sentimentality – that lingers longest.” - Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman. “Devilishly funny.” - The Guardian (UK). “A deeply humane film, as well as a quietly hilarious one.” - Time Out London