Steam of Life
Joonas Berghäll & Mika hotakainen
On the surface, Steam of Life appears to be a film about naked men sitting in steamy saunas shooting the breeze with one another. Yet co-directors Joonas Berghäll & Mika Hotakainen transcend the simple premise by profiling the men at their most vulnerable as they bear their souls, sharing tales of their life which are often quite heartbreaking. The dozen or so montages feature an assortment of Finnish men crying over lost loves, ex-wives, estranged children and other failures in their lives.
While the film is punctuated by beautiful shots of the Finnish landscape and the occasional display of some of the more creative ways saunas can be constructed, the crux of Steam is with the exploration of masculinity and non-sexual intimacy between men. The tales that are told in the buff suggest that the act of being physically exposed is what encourages them to bare their souls to each other—something culturally specific to Finnish men, given that they are traditionally not so emotionally expressive and open.
What makes Steam of Life such an incredible viewing experience is the manner in which Berghäll and Hotakainen treat their subjects. With zero prompting from the directors the men are left to their own devices, often with long uncomfortable silences as they search for the right words to express their feelings. By the end of the film, it is difficult not to feel as though you've been sitting with them in the sauna experiencing both the physical and emotional nakedness.
Steam of Life screens on Tuesday, November 20th at 6pm at the Royal. (Oktober)
ReviewsOct 29, 2014
The BabadookJennifer Kent
At every Toronto After Dark Fest, there's at least one film that rides a wave of palpable buzz and has attendees clamouring to see it. Last ...
ReviewsOct 24, 2014
Films about time travel are some of the trickiest ones to create as far as sci-fi subgenres are concerned — it's not so much about the...
ReviewsOct 23, 2014
Why Horror?Nicolas Kleiman, Rob Lindsay
As a nerd, it's always pretty weird seeing your favourite genre rise to the surface of mainstream culture, and horror is no exception. In hi...
ReviewsOct 22, 2014
Time LapseBradley King
You don't fuck with time. That's the philosophical takeaway - an idea espoused time and time again by one of the lead characters - in Bradle...
ReviewsOct 21, 2014
John Geddes' Hellmouth is a kaleidoscopic vision of hell that tantalizes with some bewitching visuals but ultimately comes off more as funho...
ReviewsOct 20, 2014
Kumiko, The Treasure HunterDavid Zellner
In 2001, a woman named Takako Konishi was found dead in a remote area of Minnesota. Botched eyewitness information swirled into an urban leg...
ReviewsOct 19, 2014
Man, I really wanted to like Zombeavers. Based on the trailer, which currently boasts over three million hits on YouTube, the film seemed li...
ReviewsOct 18, 2014
ABCs of Death 2Various Directors
When producers Ant Timpson and Tim League announced that they'd be producing a followup to 2012's highly ambitious anthology film The ABCs o...