“The Other Side of Hope”is a bit of a tough movie to pin down and explain.  The title doesn’t clue you into the plot, the trailer is odd and eccentric, and the synopsis reads like a news report about the refugee crisis that segues into the day’s financial results.  However, the juxtaposition of those two seemingly different worlds and how it effects the people involved is the true theme of the movie and makes it a movie worth watching.

Hope is really a sardonic comedy that takes an worldy issue that has been everpresent over the last five years, the Syrian refugee crisis, and distills it down from laws and politics into the human factor of how it effects not just those who have had to flee their homeland, but also the completly different society into which they now find themselves.  A somewhat satirical film that explores the effect of war on common life, it deals with large topical issues in a personal, relatable manner.

Plot wise, “The Other Side of Hope” takes two separate strands and interweaves them into one common thread; the first being that of Khaled, a refugee stowaway on a freighter to Helsinki who eventually runs into Wikström, a shirt salesman who has had his own life complely upended, come into money of his own, and has decided to become a restauranteur.  Obviously realizing through his own experience the kind of help and support Khaled needs, Wikström helps Khaled go underground by letting him hide out in his restaurant.

A movie that deftly handles the issue of anti-immigrant policies by showing the impact, bullying, heartbreak, and struggle on such an individual instead of reducing them to just a number, “The Other Side of Hope” is an important film unafraid to hold a mirror up to society and challenge us on an ongoing topical issue.  Guaranteed to generate conversation and well worth seeing, and recently awarded the honour of FIPRESCI Grand Prix (2017 Best Film by the International Federation of Film Critics), our Reel Movie Monday screeening of “The Other Side of Hope” begins at 7 p.m. on November 13/2017 at Carnival Cinemas in downtown Red Deer.  Please join us and until next time, save me the aisle seat.

Jason Hlady

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