DIRECTOR: AKI KAURISMÄKI
FINLAND / 2017
SATURDAY 2:30PM / CINEMA 3
RUNNING TIME: 100 MINS
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
Silver Bear for best director, Berlinale
Generous Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen), wins a poker game and buys a decrepit restaurant (the delightfully rubbish Golden Pint, a single painting of Jimi Hendrix adorning its otherwise bare walls) with his prize money. “I’ve always been interested in restaurants, theoretically speaking,” he admits. Displaced Syrian Khaled lands in Helsinki as a stowaway and after being denied asylum, he decides not to return to Aleppo. It takes a while for Khaled and Wikström to cross paths, but when they do, – Wikstrom offers Khaled a job in the restaurant – the ensuing culture clash is drily comic. With the help of the Golden Pint’s quirky staff, Wikström sets about transforming the place into a sushi restaurant with hilarious results. As deadpan as the best of the director’s work, and with a deep well of empathy for its down-but-not-out characters, The Other Side of Hope is a bittersweet tale of human kindness in the face of official indifference.