This wry, melancholic comedy The Other Side Of Hope, from Aki Kaurismäki, is a clear-eyed response to the current refugee crisis. The film follows two people searching for a place to call home.
Displaced Syrian Khaled (Sherwan Haji) lands in Helsinki as a stowaway; meanwhile, middle-aged salesman Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen) leaves behind his wife and job and buys a conspicuously unprofitable seafood restaurant.
After Khaled is denied asylum, he decides not to return to Aleppo—and the paths of the two men cross fortuitously. As deadpan as the best of the director’s work, and with a deep well of empathy for its down-but-not-out characters (many of them played by members of Kaurismäki’s ever-reliable stock company), The Other Side of Hope is a bittersweet celebration of human kindness in an unwelcoming world.