Smoke Sauna Sisterhood

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood

Estonia | 2023 | 89 min. | Anna Hints

A stunning, intimate, and beautifully shot lightning bolt of a film, as a group of women regularly meet at the smoke saunas of southern Estonia to not only cleanse their bodies but also bare their souls to each other, finding connection in their joys and ordeals. This screening is in honor of longtime SIFF programmer Maryna Ajaja.

'This film is sponsored by Mary Rainwater.

It may seem as though safe spaces are hard to come by. Spaces you can truly be yourself, relax the tension in your muscles, and share your stories, confessions, and even secrets with those around you. A space to focus on healing; a space your body can exist without being criticized or commented on. In Smoke Sauna Sisterhood, we're invited into such a space. Director Anna Hints' feature documentary honors a centuries-old Estonian ritual: the sauna. Deep in the forest, a small wooden cabin is the setting for an intimate gathering of women. The heat, steam, and sweat cradle each voice and body as they exchange their stories, confessions, jokes, and cynical musings. Although their anecdotes are personal, they're often widely universal, from body image issues to friendships, from childhood memories to recent nightmares. This cathartic and at times even ethereal documentary offers a rare escape for women whose lives are made up of so much labor—both physical and emotional. Smoke Sauna Sisterhood provides a release, and is a lyrical celebration of womanhood and what it means to be part of a hard-earned community. Soothe your pain, cleanse your soul, and join the sisterhood.

Emalie Soderback

  • Director: Anna Hints
  • Country: Estonia, France, Iceland
  • Year: 2023
  • Running Time: 89 min.
  • Producer: Marianne Ostrat
  • Screenplay: Anna Hints
  • Cinematographers: Ants Tammik
  • Editors: Hendrik Mägar, Tushar Prakash, Qutaiba Barhamji, Martin Männik, Anna Hints
  • Music: Edvard Egilsson, Eeter
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Sundance Film Festival 2023 (Jury Award: Directing: World Cinema Documentary)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Estonian, Seto, Vor
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • US Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
  • International Sales: Autlook Filmsales