The Other Side of Hope

Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Year Released: 2017
Rating: 2.0

Traveling salesman Waldemar (Sakari Kuosmanen) is fed up with his regular job, wins a bunch of cash in a poker game and buys a restaurant while Syrian refugee Khaled (Sherwan Haji), surviving alone in Finland, runs the risk of being sent back to Aleppo, his home town - when Waldemar sees Khaled sleeping by a dumpster, he offers him a job. I guess Kaurismäki, in his own way, is trying to comment on the immigration crisis in Europe and other parts of the world, but he can't escape his own aesthetic: people looking lost in thought, minimal dialogue, heavy smoking, nice compositions - it's the same ol' thing, but it also presents a cardboard, 'whimsical' view of a serious subject (but hey, there's a puppy!). His creations are not exactly the chattiest bunch ... though next time he contemplates having them converse in English, he should rethink that move immediately (ouch, my ears).