(K. Brent Tomer),
LIKE many film-makers, Aki Kaurismaki wants to change people’s minds and challenge their preconceived ideas. Past films have modernised canonical works (“Hamlet Goes Business”, “Crime and Punishment”) and approached well-thumbed topics—such as financial hardship and the exploitation of women—in unusual ways (“The Match Factory Girl”, “Juha”, “Drifting Clouds”). With his trilogy about refugees, he has taken on an even thornier and more divisive issue. “Le Havre” (winner of the FIPRESCI prize at Cannes in 2011) followed an African boy who was smuggled to the French port town in a sealed truck. At this year’s Berlinale, he premiered “Toivon Tuolla Puolen” (“The Other Side of Hope”), the second instalment.
Shot in Finland, Mr Kaurismaki’s homeland, “The Other Side of Hope” tells two stories. The first is of Khaled (Sherwan Haji), a young Syrian refugee who arrives in Helsinki as a stowaway on a coal cargo ship. Once showered and changed, he follows the correct legal procedures: he registers at a police station and carefully fills out his application for asylum at the immigration office. At a refugee shelter, he meets Mazdak (Simon…Continue reading