The Other Side of Hope
Director: Aki Kaurismaki
Cast: Sherwan Hadi, Sakari Kuosmanen, Donne Hyytianen
Language: English, Arabic, Finnish with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Finland-Germany 2016 98 mins. (12A)
Winner Best Director Silver Bear 2017 Berlin Film Festival
Released by Curzon Artificial Eye
Aki Kaurismaki's the master of deadpan humour sketches out a bittersweet comedy that continues from his previous gem, 'Le Havre.'
Syrian refugee, Khaled (Sheridan Haji) crawls out of a coal container to seek asylum in Finland. Shirt salesman Waldeman Wikstrom (Sakare Kuosmanen) places his wedding ring and keys on the table, walks out on his alcoholic wife (Ilka Koivula), sells his business, plays poker, wins a stack and buys The Golden Pint, a restaurant that the devil wouldn't touch. When Khaled meets Waldeman, it's fisticuffs, a bloody nose and the beginning of a friendship with the Finnish restaurant owner protecting his new found friend as they hit the bureaucratic wall and try to locate Khaled's sister Miriam (Niraz Haji) last seen on the Turkish border. The Golden Pint, a sushi bar with a difference, a cook who sleeps standing up, Mazdak (Simon Hussein Al-Bazoow), an Iraqi refugee stuck in a never ending bureaucratic limbo, Khaled recalling his journey from a Syrian hell, music played in Helsinki bars and on the street. Will they find a place to call home? It's Aki Kaurismaki at his best.
Deadpan one-liners, minimalist style, misfits on the edge, beautifully shot by Timo Salminen, a masterful critique of bureaucratic madness. It's Aki Kaurismaki at his best. Did I say that before? Aki Kaurismaki at his best and he won the Berlin Silver Bear for Best Director.