Aki Kaurismäki
Finland, Germany
2017
100
minutes
Finnish, English, Arabic, Swedish
PG

Smart, wry, and utterly droll, The Other Side of Hope is a comically light take on Europe’s current refugee crisis, albeit one steeped in director Aki Kaurismäki’s characteristically delightful sense of humour, wit, and optimism.

Opening with a Syrian man’s escape from Aleppo to Helsinki, the film unites two unlikely characters—our refugee protagonist, and his newfound friend and keeper, a Finnish restaurateur—to both explore and satirize the bureaucratic systems and institutions that insist on deporting refugees.

While the refugee crisis has divided parts of Europe in terms of tolerance, Kaurismaki’s moving, human, fantastically funny film is a welcome, hopeful change from the heated debate on the fate of those seeking nothing more than asylum.

Preceded by Scaffold by director Kazik Radwanski. Q&A with star Sherwan Haji following the film.