In the opening film of the Movies that Matter Festival 2017, author-filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki shows in his characteristic style how a Finnish trade representative and a Syrian refugee cross paths.
The latest film from idiosyncratic Kaurismäki would be hilarious if it were not so terribly tragic. Khaled Ali has fled Syria and, after traversing Europe, is looking for asylum in Finland. 'Seeking asylum is not the problem, a lot of people do that,' is the level-headed answer of the policeman to whom Khaled submits his asylum request.
Somewhere else in the same Finnish city, Wikström makes the important decision to radically change his life. He leaves his wife and quits his job as trade representative. He wants to start a restaurant. A few days later, he finds Khaled amidst his dumpsters. Khaled considers the space between the containers to be his bedroom. Wikström has a different opinion about that, and a fight ensues. When the bleeding has stopped, Wikström decides to help Khaled out of his predicament and offers him a job in the restaurant. Hope is dawning. It would all have been hilarious if it were not so tragic.
Text: Dirk van der Straaten