A Syrian asylum seeker finds friendship with a hapless Finnish restaurateur in part two of Aki Kaurismäki’s migrant trilogy
The latest from Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki follows Syrian asylum seeker Khaled (Sherwan Haji) as he attempts to make a new life for himself in Helsinki. Emerging from a coal freighter covered in soot, Khaled maintains that crossing the border was easy, because “nobody wants to see me”.
The second in a loose trilogy that began with his 2011 film Le Havre, Kaurismäki’s wry comedy is a timely critique of an intolerant Europe, and a winking cheer to those who offer a handshake of solidarity to their new neighbours. One such individual is the cranky but generous Wikström (Sakari Kuosmanen), who wins a poker game and buys a decrepit restaurant (the delightfully rubbish Golden Pint, a single painting of Jimi Hendrix adorning its otherwise bare walls) with his prize money. “I’ve always been interested in restaurants, theoretically speaking,” he admits.