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The Other Side of Hope

"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." - Village Voice

“Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki is known for making the driest of dry black comedies that rarely put a step further than a Helsinki bar. His film are gems of poker-faced comic absurdism, full of expressionless faces and gloomy rooms. That’s still the case with The Other Side of Hope – but this time the veteran filmmaker’s mind is on the European refugee crisis. In his own idiosyncratic way Kaurismäki addresses this hot topic by asking: why would anyone want to come to horrible old Finland anyway?

“Kaurismäki manages to be touching and compassionate along the way. He invites the refugee crisis into his world, paralleling the story of Khaled, a Syrian seeking leave to remain in Finland, with that of middle-aged Wikström, who decides to abandon his job as a shirt salesman, leave his alcoholic wife and buy a failing restaurant.

“The film is a persuasive vision of what it might mean to be a Syrian refugee in Finland, complete with fascist bullying and threats of violence. It’s a deeply humane film, as well as a quietly hilarious one.” - Time Out

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