The second part of Aki Kaurismäki's "Finland" trilogy, the film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Unable to remember his name or ... See full summary »
Khaled, syrian refugee stows away on a freighter to Helsinki. Meanwhile, Wikström is a traveling salesman who wins big at a poker table and buys himself a restaurant with the proceeds. When the authorities turn down his application for asylum, Khaled is forced underground and Wikström finds him sleeping in the yard behind his restaurant. He offers him a job and a roof over his head and, for a while, they form a Utopian union with the restaurant's waitress, the chef and his dog. Written by
Prior the film's release director-producer Aki Kaurismäki and his long-time set decorator Markku Pätilä got into dispute on how the credits are listed in the Finnish titled version as all set related credits (set decorator, property master and set builder) are listed under single title "Lavastus". Kaurismäki's response for that this wording would downgrade Pätilä's role and artistic rights in the set design, Kaurismäki rejected these claims and also said Kaurismäki himself designed the detailed visual look of the film and even provided large part of the props. The response also promised that in the international version with English titles Pätilä would be the only person listed under title "set decorator". On February 1st 2017 Pätilä and his lawyers filed a case to The Market Court in Helsinki to seek injunction on film's release in Finland in its current form and the next day the court ruled that there is no need to ban the film and the issues regarding the rights on the film's set design will be determined later - assuming the parties cannot reach a settlement outside the court prior that. See more »
Remember the pretty boy Ronan Keating singing that you say it best when you say nothing at all? Of course you don't, you only listen to good music. But this could be the very motto of Finnish legendary moviemaker Aki Kaurismäki's latest. This minimalist masterpiece is so achingly simple and elegant and yet so complex in a good way, that there's no really good way to describe it, if you don't understand Kaurismäki's style already. Toivon tuolla puolen" (The Other Side of Hope" in English, Teispool lootust" in Estonian") is like a haiku: it can convey so much with so little words and even so little action. I can't find fitting comparisions here, but Kaurismäki comes across like Jim Jarmusch's less snobish cousin: even more concentrated on what it's like to be human and small things that life is actually made of. They both value storytelling through details but Kaurismäki's approach is more mainstreamfriendly: you don't have to invest yourself fully all the time to make sense of what's going on exactly. Toivon tuolla puolen" offers two bittersweet stories interwining, about refugee in strange and hostile land and old entrepreneur who leaves his wife and finds fresh start in running a diner. It often feels like comedy Kaurismäki's approach could be called Finnish version of Soviet nostalgia that many 30-year or older viewers will respond to and enjoy. Judging by Estonian premiere, it's a real crowdpleaser. But deeper down it's more about bleak and sad side of human existence: loneliness, being unwanted, trying to find purpose when everything has fallen down. And, of course, about how there's no winning with nowadays' refugee crisis it brings suffering for everyone involved, except for maybe those who like to attack people who shouldn't be here". I give this quietly hilarious and heartbreaking masterpiece a near- perfect score. Although it doesn't break new grounds for Kaurismäki, I can't think of a way how it could be improved in any meaningful way. The movie's not gonna satisfy everybody, nothing will, but it's almost perfect the way it is. Deceptively simple but powerful experience that you can't imagine getting from anybody else than Kaurismäki.
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