List Film

Steam of Life

Steam of Life
  • 2010
  • Finland
  • 81 min
  • Directed by: Joonas Berghäll, Mika Hotakainen
  • Written by: Joonas Berghäll, Mika Hotakainen
  • Language: Finnish

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In Finland, the sauna is the equivalent of a confessional. It has become the one place where men can share their feelings with each other, expressing the joys and sorrows they have experienced in their lives. Steam of Life is a surprising and heartbreaking compendium of tales from an astonishingly diverse collection of saunas where men bare their souls as well as their bodies. We hear stories of violence and regret, loss and suffering, broken relationships and loyal friendships in venues that range from a poolside sauna to a converted telephone booth at the end of a country lane. One of the most original and acclaimed documentaries of the past year. Part of Glasgow Film Festival

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Reviews & features

Steam of Life

9 Sep 20112 stars

Beautiful but bleak documentary about Finnish sauna culture

There are five million people in Finland, and an estimated two million saunas – roughly one per household. They form an integral part of Finnish culture: women are encouraged to give birth in them, while men use the steamy rooms both as social venues…

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