Finland, 2017, 98 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Aki Kaurismäki, Not Rated, Janus Films, Finnish, Arabic, and English with English subtitles
“Hope is as contemporary and vital a film as you’re likely to find in 2017, but it’s also one of the funniest and most classically (not to mention beautifully) cinematic too.” – Rory O’Connor, The Film Stage
Leave it to Aki Kaurismäki (Le Havre), peerless master of humanist tragicomedy, to make the first great fiction film about the 21st century migrant crisis. Having escaped bombed-out Aleppo, Syrian refugee Khaled seeks asylum in Finland, only to get lost in a maze of functionaries and bureaucracies. Meanwhile, shirt salesman Wikström abandons his wife with bitterly droll brevity, wins big in a poker game, and buys a conspicuously unprofitable seafood restaurant whose deadpan staff he also inherits. These parallel stories dovetail to gently comic and enormously moving effect. Kaurismäki’s politically urgent fable won the Best Director award in Berlin, the International Critics’ Prize in San Sebastian, and is nominated as Best Film at the European Academy Awards.