Friday, March 12, 2010

Miesten vuoro

In the Steam of Life. FI 2010. PC: Oktober Oy. P: Joonas Berghäll. D+SC: Joonas Berghäll, Mika Hotakainen. DP: Heikki Färm, Jani Kumpulainen - shot on S16 mm - 2K digital intermediate DFF - released on 35mm. M: Jonas Bolin. S: Christian Christensen. ED: Timo Peltola. 85 min. English subtitles by Tiina Kinnunen. - The Festival screening was sold out, so I watched the film simultaneously on dvd at the Tampere Film Festival Market.

The screening of the most acclaimed new Finnish film of the recent DocPoint festival was sold out in Tampere.

Also from the dvd one can deduce that the cinematography is brilliant. Great composition, a fine sense of colour, a feeling for the light of the four seasons.

The Finnish sauna as the space for confessions among men.

An amazingly intimate documentary film about men's confessions, a few of them happy (marital bliss, the birth of a baby, finding a new love at old age). Most of the confessions are tragic, but the sauna provides the place of confidence and friendship between men. It is good to talk.

Childhood in an abusive home with a violent stepfather. A daughter lost in divorce. Criminal past in Sweden. Handicapped friends. The career officer whose mother died and girlfriend left him. The death of the wife. The clochards. The miners of Lapland. The loss of a twin child.

Many kinds of saunas, including a mobile home, an automobile, and a telephone booth transformed into saunas. Home saunas, public saunas, a Laplander's teepee sauna.

I am a sauna aficionado, myself, and I recognize something of the confessional sense displayed in this movie, but in my experience the confessional mode of the sauna is a rare special case, even amongst the closest ones. For me the sauna is more an experience of meditation, of liberation from mundane worries, of recharging one's batteries, profound certainly, and about ignoring all the externals.

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