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.