Finland’s master of deadpan comedy, Aki Kaurismäki (Lights in the Dusk, Le Havre), returns with the story of an unlikely friendship between a Syrian asylum seeker and an elderly Finnish restaurant owner. Winner of the Berlin Silver Bear for Best Director, it’s a beautiful, timely film from one of the world's leading auteurs.
Khaled (Sherwan Haji) arrives at the port of Helsinki concealed in a coal container, fleeing war-torn Syria to seek asylum in Finland. Dazed and frustrated by the monolithic administration he encounters at the detention centre, he makes a break for it and heads out onto the streets. There he meets Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen), a former shirt salesman who has recently left his alcoholic wife for a new life as a bachelor restaurateur. Together, they help each other to navigate the adversities they face in these unfamiliar and often baffling new worlds.
With hilarious sight gags, poker-faced one liners and a toe-tapping rockabilly soundtrack, Kaurismäki’s latest balances his unparalleled wit with a pressing critique of the unforgiving bureaucracy that greets vulnerable asylum seekers in modern-day Europe. Humane and sincere, it's proof of cinema's power to tell stories that matter, with beauty and heart.
Sherwan Haji: Khaled
Sakari Kuosmanen: Wikström
Janne Hyytiäinen: Nyrhinen
Ilkka Koivula: Calamnius
Nuppu Koivu: Mirja
Simon Hussein Al-Bazoon: Mazdak
Niroz Haji: Miriam
Kaija Pakarinen: Wife
Aki Kaurismäki: Director / writer / producer
Timo Salminen: Director of Photography
Samu Heikkilä: Editor
Tero Malmberg: Sound Designer
Ville Grönroos: Production Design #1
Heikki Häkkinen: Production Design #2
Markku Pätilä: Production Design #3
Tiina Kaukanen: Costumes and Make-up
Original title: Toivon tuolla puolen
Production year: 2017
DVD catalogue number: ART827DVD
Blu-ray catalogue number: ART214BD
Winner of Best Director Silver Bear at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival