cover art for IDFA 2023- Smoke Sauna Sisterhood

Delightful Docs

IDFA 2023- Smoke Sauna Sisterhood

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood

Few places in the world are better suited for showing our vulnerabilities than the sauna. The women in this intimate documentary bare all, both literally and figuratively, in a remote spot in the freezing cold, somewhere in Estonia, where the smoke sauna tradition is on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.

The camera seems to be part of the group as it respectfully and affectionately records the women sharing their experiences—some of these are beautiful, while others are traumatic. No subject is taboo as the women talk of the stillbirth of a child, sexual abuse, coming out, domestic violence, sickness and recovery.

Touching close-ups in the sweltering sauna alternate with wide shots of the women running naked in the snow, kindling the fire, playing music and smoking pork. An elderly woman talks about the sexist traditions of her younger days, presenting a stark contrast with the intense sense of support and strength that the women feel in this safe, therapeutic sauna.

Anna Hints

Anna Hints has a background in contemporary art and experimental folk singing. She has studied Estonian and Comparative Literature and Folklore and has a degree both in Photography and Film Directing. Her student film ‘Free World’ brought her Kaljo Kiisa named Young Filmmaker Award and Best National Short Film award at Black Nights FilmFestival.

Her debut short ‘Ice’ was selected to more than 90 film festivals and won 14 awards, including Best Short Film Award at Estonian Film and Television Awards in 2018. Her new short fiction in pre-production is set in India and combines environmental and women issues. Anna is part of female music trio Eeter that was nominated for The Best Composer Award at Estonian Film and Television Awards in 2019 for the original score for ‘Wind Sculptured Land'

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