SISU – Interview with director Jalmari Helander

Sisu is a Finnish word with no direct translation in English. It means that when all hope is gone and the chances of survival reach zero, an inner fortitude emerges, allowing a person to overcome the worst circumstances. When gold prospector Korpi (Jorma Tommila) encounters a bunch of savage Nazis in the final days of World War II, he finds himself pitted against unbeatable foes. Trapped in a frozen wilderness and staring death in the face, Korpi’s sisu comes to the fore, but will it be enough to defeat monstrous soldiers? We spoke with writer-director Jalmari Helander to find out more.  

Watch The Interview

During the last desperate days of WWII, a solitary prospector (Jorma Tommila) crosses paths with Nazis on a scorched-earth retreat in northern Finland. When the Nazis steal his gold, they quickly discover that they have just tangled with no ordinary miner. While there is no direct translation for the Finnish word “sisu”, this legendary ex-commando will embody what sisu means: a white-knuckled form of courage and unimaginable determination in the face of overwhelming odds. And no matter what the Nazis throw at him, the one-man death squad will go to outrageous lengths to get his gold back – even if it means killing every last Nazi in his path.


SISU is in Irish cinemas from May 26th