Tucked in a lush green forest in southern Estonia, a group of women gather in the safe darkness of a smoke sauna to share their innermost thoughts and secrets. Enveloped by a warm, dense heat, they bare all to expel fears and shame trapped in their bodies and regain their strength.
Director Anna Hints captures this intimate ritual in a stunningly visceral and absorbing way. Her camera engages with the tight space by cradling bodies and faces revealed in chiaroscuro. An exchange of voices share what their bodies have experienced and withstood. The testimonies are deeply personal while also feeling universally recognizable. Hints further immerses us into the space with a soundscape saturated with breath and steam. The heat, sweat, and corporeality are palpable. At times, the women’s anatomies become landscapes, the sweat like rain. Moments outside in the cool light of the forest offer a release dispersed throughout the experience. It’s a beautiful privilege to be allowed into this healing space, and Hints honors the tradition and the empowered vulnerability of women with her striking and engrossing portrait.
The film received directing award at Sundance Film Festival 2023.
ACME FILM OÜ