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Aki Kaurismäki wins best director for "The Other Side of Hope"

Finland's best-known film director won the Silver Bear award at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival on Saturday night for his poignant film about the European refugee crisis.

Aki Kaurismäki palkittiin parhaan ohjaajan palkinnolla Hopeisella karhulla elokuvasta 'Toivon tuolla puolen' Berliinin elokuvajuhlilla 18. helmikuuta 2017.
Film director Aki Kaurismäki receives his Silver Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival for "The Other Side of Hope." Image: Tobias Schwarz / AFP

In true Aki Kaurismäki style, the award-winning 59-year-old film director did not walk up to the stage to accept the best director award for "The Other Side of Hope" at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday night.

Instead, the Silver Bear award was brought to him.

Whatever the reason for not walking up to the podium -- Kaurismäki previously complained of being very tired in an interview with Yle last Thursday when he announced that he would make no more films -- it was in keeping with Kaurismäki's manner of doing things his own way. 

His acceptance speech was very brief: "Ladies and gentlemen, Thank you very much."

Finnish master's first film in six years

In "The Other Side of Hope" a Syrian refugee Khaled (played by actor Sherwan Haji) travels to Finland where he hopes to apply for asylum and ends up living on the streets when his application is rejected. When he's taken in by Wikström, an eccentric character played by Kaurismäki regular, actor Sakari Kuosmanen, there's a glimmer of hope for Khaled's future.

Though the film was to be the second in a planned trilogy (the first of the trilogy "Le Havre" was released in 2011), Kaurismäki has said that “The Other Side of Hope” will be his last movie.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, "The Other Side of Hope" was one of the best-reviewed films at this year's festival.

Kaurismäki has directed 18 feature-length films, which are known for their deadpan humour. His movies have been nominated for Oscars. In 2003, when his "The Man Without a Past" was nominated for an Oscar, he boycotted the Oscar Gala to protest US foreign policy in Iraq.

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