The Other Side of Hope

January 31, 2018

The Other Side of Hope is equally funny, sad, poignant and compassionate. It’s a tale of a Syrian refugee, Khaled, who stows away on a ship and ends up in Finland. He’s searching for his missing sister while trying to attain refugee status. At the same time, Wikström, a middle-aged Finnish man, decides to abandon his long time job as a shirt salesman, leave his alcoholic wife, and start life anew. He joins a late-night card game and finding himself the winner of a sum of money, decides to buy a small, failing restaurant.

The two men form an unlikely friendship, when Wikström hires Khaled to work in the restaurant. The film’s comic high point comes when the restaurant’s dubious crew try to avert financial disaster by changing up the uninspired menu. In one hilarious scene, they decide to put sushi on the menu – using tinned salted herring! This sort of wry humour sits alongside an image of what it might mean to be a Syrian refugee in Finland, with threats of violence and the fear of not being accepted. It’s a deeply humane film, as well as a quietly hilarious one.

Finland
Finnish, Arabic, English with subtitles
Rated: PG
98 minutes
4 - 5:37 & 7 - 8:37

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