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November 14, 2017

‘The Other Side Of Hope’ Trailer: Aki Kaurismaki Takes On The Refugee Crisis

In a season filled with expensive, noisy blockbusters and over eager Oscar contenders, a new film by the singular, wonderful Aki Kaurismaki is a soothing balm. “The Other Side Of Hope” is coming soon, and it looks like it’ll be a delightfully different treat from the cinematic treadmill.

Sherwan Haji, Sakari Kuosmanen, Janne Hyytiäinen, Nuppu Koivu, Ilkka Koivula, Simon Hussein Al-Bazoon, Kaija Pakarinen, Kati Outinen, Tommi Korpela and Tuomari Nurmio, star in the award winning movie about a Syrian refugee who crosses paths with a restaurant owner in Helsinski, with the typically comical and surreal results we expect from Kaurismaki. Here’s the official synopsis:

THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE tells the story of an unlikely friendship between Khaled (Sherwan Haji), a Syrian asylum seeker from Aleppo, and Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen), a fifty-something traveling salesman who’s left his alcoholic wife and purchased a restaurant in the back streets of Helsinki with his meager winnings from poker. When the authorities decide to return Khaled to the ruins of Aleppo he opts to stay illegally in the country and disappears into the streets of Helsinki, where he meets racism as well as pure kindness. Wikström finds Khaled sleeping in the inner yard of his restaurant and seeing something of himself in the battered man, hires him as a cleaner and a dishwasher. Together, they help each other through the challenges they face in their unfamiliar and often baffling new worlds. 

“The Other Side Of Hope” screens at AFI Fest, opens in New York and Los Angeles on December 1 from Janus Films, with a national release to follow.

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