The Other Side of Hope
Khaled (Sherwan Haji), a young Syrian, arrives in Helsinki as a stowaway in the hold of a coal freighter, looking for his lost sister. At the same time and in the same town, Wikström, a middle-aged Finnish man, decides to put an end to his marriage and career. When Khaled escapes from the immigration centre and ends up at the restaurant which Wikström is trying to revive, both men find strength and support in each other in trying to get on with their lives, although they have to trick a few laws in the process.
“The Other Side of Hope” is a sombre comedy, the second film in the harbour trilogy in which Kaurismäki, as always, takes a look at life and the society from the perspective of the ordinary man. He does not judge on a political or religious level, but does what he loves and is best at. On the whole, “The Other Side of Hope” is like the herring sushi served in the film – for those who hang on to conventions, it may at first seem dismal and repelling, but a lovingly added generous scoop of wasabi will move even them to tears.
Khaled is played by Sherwan Haji, an actor and musician who was born in Damascus but settled in Finland in 2010. Other main characters are played by Kaurismäki’s long-time favourites: Sakari Kuosmanen, Kati Outinen, Ilkka Koivula, etc.