The Other Side of Hope is an entertaining and powerful Finnish movie, airing as part of the Scandinavian Film Festival.
If you’re getting a bit sick of all the superhero movies constantly coming out and you’re looking for something a little bit different this winter, it might be worth your time to check out this quirky Finnish film by director Aki Kaurismäki The Other Side of Hope is part of the Scandinavian Film Festival being held at various Palace cinemas around the country.
The movie follows two distinct plot lines that wind up intersecting. The first being one of a refugee from Aleppo trying to make a new life for himself in Finland whilst trying to locate the sister he was separated from on his journey. The other is about a travelling rep who leaves his wife, sells his stocks and tries to make it as a restaurant owner.
Kaurismäki takes his time telling his stories, and his scenes are often full of long silences that can leave viewers slightly uncomfortable. This gives way to plenty of quirky humour that’s delivered in a notable deadpan style.
The film highlights the absolute best and worst of humanity. Khaled, our Syrian refugee played by Sherwan Haji, is assisted by a number of people who want to help him, even when it puts them at risk. At the same time, he must contend with the coldness of the immigration system and the racist attitudes of those who aren’t so welcoming of refugees.
Wikström, played by Sakari Kuosmanen, has an almost existential journey of giving up his entire life to finally be the person he’s always wanted to be. His story can get a bit ridiculous, but he plays with a straight face and there’s plenty of subtle humour to be found in his performance.
Whilst this isn’t the typical sort of film you’ll see in mainstream theatres, it’s great to see a director who’s so assured of their style and the type of film they want to make.
There are a lot of good moments to be enjoyed in The Other Side of Hope and it’s great to see a story that isn’t predictable and has a great message of hope and optimism, despite all the awfulness out there in the world.
My Rating: 8/10