"Breathtaking", "masterpiece": these and similar epithets have been accompanying Estonian director Anna Hints' documentary "Bathroom Sisters" all these years. A unique and intimate film about the Estonian smoke bath, included in the UNESCO Intangible Heritage, travels around the world and leaves no one indifferent. Lithuanian viewers will also be able to see it in October.
"Bathroom Sisters" takes you to a sauna in the forest of South Estonia. There, shrouded in heat and smoke, women share their personal stories. Intimate and painful stories merge into a universal story about body acceptance, femininity, and the search for a partner. The Estonian smoke bath is included in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. "Bath Sisters" introduces the traditions of the sauna, while gently showing that vulnerability requires courage.
The producer of the film, Marianne Ostrat, was convinced from the beginning that although the film tells about the cultural history of Estonia, it will be relevant for the whole world. "Smoke baths, although found in other cultures, are a rare phenomenon. However, the questions and experiences related to femininity that the heroines open up about in the sauna are universal - every woman on the planet can relate to at least one of the stories in the film."
The world premiere of the film "Bath Sisters" took place at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded for Best Director in the Documentary category. Since the beginning of the year, the film has been invited to more than twenty film festivals, even winning awards in four. The film is also Estonia's official Oscar contender.
As the film traveled around the world, it was accompanied by praise from famous film critics and film reviewers from the beginning. "From such simple elements as fire, wood, water and a woman's body, the director created something extraordinary, intangible, lyrical. That's the magic of the movie," wrote Jessica Kiang on Variety.
According to the San Francisco International Film Festival preview, the film is stunningly intimate and touches on the women's deeply personal stories. "The subtle and thoughtful decisions of the director take the audience to South Estonia and allow them to immerse themselves in the traditions of the sauna. Breathtaking and heart-wrenching, The Bath Sisters is like a portal that allows us to feel like we're sitting on the bench with the women who are taking part in a sacred healing ritual."
October 20 cinema "Romuva" will invite you to a conversation about the sauna and the traditions of the sauna with Aušra Šiugždiniene, after the screening of the film.