Other Side of Hope, The: Aki Kaurismaki Wins Best Director at Berlin Film Fest

Acclaimed Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki won the 2017 Berlin Film Fest’s Silver Bear for best director for The Other Side of Hope, a dramedy about the European refugee crisis.

The Other Side of Hope centers on Syrian refugee Khaled (played by Sherwan Haji), hide away on a freighter to Helsinki, where he hopes to apply for asylum. When his application is rejected, he escapes and starts to live on the streets. He’s taken in by the eccentric traveling salesman-turned-restauranteur Wikstrom (Kaurismaki regular Sakari Kuosmanen).

The film is the second in a planned immigration trilogy, which started with 2011’s Le Havre.  That film follows an African boy who arrives by cargo ship to France.

But Kaurismaki said that The Other Side of Hope would be his last film as a director.

Kaurismaki has directed 18 features, going back to Crime and Punishment in 1983.

His deadpan style and long single takes have influenced the work of Jim Jarmusch.

Oscar Protest

The veteran director is best-known for his 2003 dramedy The Man Without a Past, which was nominated for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar.

Kaurismaki at the time boycotted the Oscar gala to protest U.S. foreign policy in Iraq.