Societal Portraits

Societal Portraits

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

Selina Oakes

This article appears in Issue 77 of Aesthetica Magazine. For more information or to pick up a copy:

1. Trailer for The Other Side of Hope. Courtesy of Curzon Artificial Eye.