Khaled, syrian refugee stows away on a freighter to Helsinki. Meanwhile, Wikström is a traveling salesman who wins big at a poker table and buys himself a restaurant with the proceeds. When the authorities turn down his application for asylum, Khaled is forced underground and Wikström finds him sleeping in the yard behind his restaurant. He offers him a job and a roof over his head and, for a while, they form a Utopian union with the restaurant's waitress, the chef and his dog.Written by
Prior the film's release director-producer Aki Kaurismäki and his long-time set decorator Markku Pätilä got into dispute on how the credits are listed in the Finnish titled version as all set related credits (set decorator, property master and set builder) are listed under single title "Lavastus". Kaurismäki's response for that this wording would downgrade Pätilä's role and artistic rights in the set design, Kaurismäki rejected these claims and also said Kaurismäki himself designed the detailed visual look of the film and even provided large part of the props. The response also promised that in the international version with English titles Pätilä would be the only person listed under title "set decorator". On February 1st 2017 Pätilä and his lawyers filed a case to The Market Court in Helsinki to seek injunction on film's release in Finland in its current form and the next day the court ruled that there is no need to ban the film and the issues regarding the rights on the film's set design will be determined later - assuming the parties cannot reach a settlement outside the court prior that. See more »
The Other Side of Hope tackles a timely matter, the refugee crisis in Europe in the wake of the ISIL wars, with a wry and deadpan sense of humour, resulting in a product with a lot of personality and colour. It's a Finnish film that received international attention but doesn't present the Finns themselves in a totally positive light- but then, we know the Finns haven't been the only ones to show a complete lack of humanity and empathy towards those who've suffered so much.
The film boasts a number of memorable characters, particularly Waldemar Wikström, who purchases a restaurant called The Golden Pint while looking for a new line of work after a separation. A profitable business, he is told, because people drink when times are bad, and more when times are good. He finds himself leading a staff of three Finns, then a dog, and finally Khaled, a Syrian refugee only looking for his sister. Wikström brings Khaled in after the courts decide, rather dubiously, that there is no war in Aleppo.
The Other Side of Hope isn't naive in imagining a harmonious outcome for everyone. It brings us a vision of hardships that nevertheless, with its humour and hope, inspires, and brings a smile to the face.
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