Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (2023)

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (2023)

The smoke sauna serves as sacred sanctuary in this refreshing documentary

7.8

Movie

Estonia, France
Estonian
Documentary
2023
ANNA HINTS
Eda Veeroja, Elsa Saks, Eva Kübar
89 min

TLDR

I wish every woman out there had a safe place like this.

What it's about

Inside an Estonian smoke sauna, women bare their bodies and souls, sharing their secrets, washing off shame, and embracing the sisterhood that heals them.

The take

Nakedness has been demonized or at least, has been considered inappropriate outside of certain situations. One such situation is the sauna, as the steam and high heat is considered therapeutic, especially in colder regions. In her directorial debut, Anna Hints documents the Estonian smoke sauna, not just as a cultural tradition, but as a sanctuary for women to bare their bodies and their troubles. The women are, of course, naked, but the sauna’s smoke and darkness obscures and keeps identities hidden, focusing on their stories and allowing a glimpse of women’s bodies at their most natural, without the sexualization often placed with the male gaze. Smoke Sauna Sisterhood is a refreshing take, one where plenty of women can finally see themselves in.

What stands out

Hints uses light and shadow in a way today’s filmmakers haven’t done recently, and this makes her documentary have a distinctly natural yet different look.

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