Directed by Anna Hints, documentary, 89 min, eng subtitles, 16+
Written by Anna Hints
The Estonian smoke sauna (on the UNESCO list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”) is a world of its own. In its confined space, women share their innermost secrets, traumas and intimate experiences, washing off the feelings of shame trapped in their bodies and regaining their strength through a sense of mutual trust and communion. This incredibly humane film lets us join a group of women of various ages opening their souls and telling each other stories from their lives, encompassing a wide array of challenges and joys. A very universal, deep, wet and sweaty dive into womanhood.
Anna Hints' gorgeously-shot documentary is first of all a celebration of the smoke sauna tradition, exploring - through painterly chiaroscuro images - its rituals and folklore taking place in the heart of majestic nature. It is also an immersion in the agonisingly intimate, emotionally intense and visibly empowering, almost mystical, experience of “sauna sisterhood”.
Sundance FF 2023 (Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary)
San Francisco IFF 2023 (Best Documentary Feature)