The Other Side of Hope
WINNER: SILVER BEAR BEST DIRECTOR, BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL 2017
Aki Kaurismäki's new film is a heart-warming, funny, melancholic tale of the friendship between a Syrian refugee and a restaurant-owner.
Khaled, a young Syrian refugee, arrives in Helsinki as a stowaway and applies for asylum. Meanwhile, travelling salesman Wikström decides to change his life, and invests in an unprofitable restaurant. When the authorities deny Khaled's application for asylum, he decides to stay on illegally, and it is then that he meets Wikström outside the restaurant. After a minor disagreement, Khaled is hired to work in the restaurant and finally finds some refuge, but it's far from permanent.
Kaurismäki says that the film is an attempt to shatter the "way of only seeing refugees as either pitiful victims or arrogant economic immigrants invading our societies." With his unique sense of humour and fundamentally optimistic vision of the world, he achieves a great deal more than that.
"It's difficult to imagine anyone coming away from Aki Kaurismäki's gorgeous tragicomedy about the refugee crisis in Europe, the challenges of the restaurant business and the rewards of self-reinvention without feeling gentle elation sparked by the story's evidence of human kindness amid cruelty and indifference." – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER