Iron Grandpa

Esko Ketola is like Father Christmas’ fit brother who seems to have found the Holy Grail. In the master’s life, the passing of time is prominent only in the length of his beard. Team Ketola are a little worried for grandpa and they keep leaving subtle hints that maybe it’s time to give it up. But Esko is afraid to quit. He’s scared of old age getting to him the second he stops in his track. For a moment the Iron Grandpa slows down and wells up when his granddaughter sits him down on the porch. The lull comes to grinding halt, though, when the septuagenarian bolts up: “I’m gonna go shred a 140 now!” He’s talking about kilograms.

Esko has had his share of tragedy in his life. One old error has kept haunting him forever, because in the world of sports there’s no learning from past mistakes. ”If I was a softy, I’d probably be in pretty bad shape”, says Esko about the ghosts in his closet. ”Only softies quit” is the motto of both Esko and the posse circling him.

Softies will turn rock-hard in the pressure cooker that is the World Championships in Argentina. Tendons squeak and kneecaps wail as two hundred kilos of iron leave the floor. ”No sissies ever won any world titles I’m telling you.” And it sure takes a lot of old-fashioned gumption, goddammit.

Iron Grandpa was nominated for the prize of the best Nordic documentary film at CPH:DOX Copenhagen.

Christa Åkerman / Translation: Tapio Reinekoski

Languages: Finnish, English
Subtitles: English


  • Name in Original Language: Teräsvaari
  • Director: Janiv Oskár, Terhi Romo
  • Country: Finland
  • Year: 2015
  • Length: 75­ min
  • Age limit: S
  • Format: DCP
  • Cinematography: Lauri Harju, Eero Rissanen
  • Editing: Jussi Rinta-Opas
  • Audio: Janiv Oskár, Aino Mättö
  • Music: Janiv Oskár
  • Production: Aino Mättö


  • Kinopalatsi 2: Thursday 28.1. at 18:45
  • Kinopalatsi 7: Saturday 30.1. at 15:15