5014427

Run time: 100 mins

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 an elderly Finnish restaurant owner.

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.

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