A master of deadpan comedy and melancholic drama, Aki Kaurismäki offers moral support for the down-and-out in The Other Side of Hope – a candid portrayal of the tropes of modern living and immigration in today’s fragmented society.
Existing in different districts within Helsinki, protagonists Khaled, a Syrian refugee in search of his sister, and Wikström, a shirt-seller turned restauranteur, cross paths in the latter part of the film following the denial of Khaled’s request for asylum – a process that sees the court bluntly conclude that Aleppo, despite the bombing, is not dangerous. The film juxtaposes Wikström’s support for Khaled with the abuse from xenophobic locals. Harsh reality balanced here with subtle humour explores the possibility of belonging in a foreign place.
Audiences will delight in the visual mishmash of eras – from the 1950s to the present day – as well as the film’s sparse dialogue and soundtrack (present only when a busker or jukebox plays on screen), which are matched by the expansive sets that mimic the aesthetics of a Hopper painting
This article appears in Issue 77 of Aesthetica Magazine. For more information or to pick up a copy: www.aestheticamagazine.com/shop.
1. Trailer for The Other Side of Hope. Courtesy of Curzon Artificial Eye.