Anna Hints’ Sundance-winning documentary celebrates female solidarity and community through a group of Estonian women who continue an age-old tradition.
The sauna-based rituals carried out by women of the Voro community of Estonia is so unique they appear on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Anna Hints’ captivating film places us at the heart of this world. As the women unwind and talk, there is humour borne of their familiarity with each other and of shared experiences, but there are also tales of pain and suffering. With few key exceptions, Hints’ camera focuses on the women listening rather than those doing the talking, further enveloping us in this world. There is a frankness to the way she films her subjects – the close-ups on bodies are matter of fact and never salacious. And the subtle sound design, combined with Edvard Egilsson’s atmospheric choral score, adds to the uniqueness of this intimate environment.