THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE (TOIVON TUOLLA PUOLEN)
A Syrian refugee stowed away on a freighter, Khaled arrives in Helsinki soot-faced and desperate to start a new life. Meanwhile, Wikstrom is a traveling salesman in the throes of a very deadpan midlife crisis, who wins big at a poker game and decides to purchase a restaurant as a means of starting over. These two interlacing narratives dance throughout THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE in a way that only Aki Kaurismäki can choreograph: with buoyant hope and low-key hilarity. The Finnish auteur has remained remarkably consistent in his minimalist style over the years, and with THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE — which is both classically Kaurismäki and piercingly relevant to global events — he reminds us yet again of his ability to endure. – Beth Hanna
Aki Kaurismäki grew up in "the age terrorized by television," and has managed to stick to the inseparable realities of the real world that only 35mm makes possible. His credits include LENINGRAD COWBOYS GO AMERICA (1989), THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL (1990), THE MAN WITHOUT A PAST (2002) and LE HAVRE (2011). THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE is his seventh film to play AFI FEST.