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 a middle-aged 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.
★★★★"Sympathetic and charming" – Peter Bradshaw's Film of the Week, The Guardian
★★★★★ "Gorgeous, cuttingly poignant" - Tim Robey, The Telegraph
★★★★★ "The work of a master filmmaker at the top of his game" - Allan Hunter, The List