This documentary tells the story of Jani, a 19-year-old drug addict living on social welfare among with his friends. Tired of his life in a remote city in Rovaniemi, he decides to travel by... See full summary »
On the coastline of Windholm one morning 15 years ago the ocean just disappeared. Since then the emptiness has been raising questions and anxiety. The cause of the phenomenon remains ... See full summary »
Even now, twenty-five years after German reunification, historians are still debating whether the GDR was an illegitimate state. In his current work, Jochen Hick tells the story of ex-GDR ... See full summary »
Florence Foster Jenkins is known as "the worst singer of all times" and yet she is a cult figure whose recordings still outsell many contemporary singers. Opera superstar Joyce DiDonato ... See full summary »
Saara is a middle-aged doctor who one day finds out that her architect-husband Leo is having an affair with a younger woman, Tuuli. Instead of revealing her true identity, Saara pretends to... See full summary »
Decades ago, they ended up in St. Pauli, a borough in the port city of Hamburg, Germany, hoping to escape the narrow-minded confines of the petit bourgeoisie, looking for work and a ... See full summary »
When a schoolteacher is sacked he projects his bad mood at his troubled teen son. He in turn buys a CD player from a pawnshop with counterfeit money. This causes a chain-reaction that ... See full summary »
Juhani, 14 years old and tormented by a childhood trauma, has changed several foster parents from the age of eight. He is taken to an island, where there is a boys' home, run by a strict ... See full summary »
With few options, newly pardoned convict Leila agrees to work as an assistant to a blind pastor. Father Jacob spends his days answering the letters of the needy, which Leila finds pointless... See full summary »
The documentary "Steam of Life" is not a typical Hollywood documentary and I felt it was very informative. Overall, I felt this film had a very good meaning, but I found it very hard to pay attention. The opening scene shows an elderly couple sitting in a sauna washing and hitting each other with small branches. I assumed this film was going to be about this one particular couple and their sentimental feelings toward their sauna. It said they have been washing each other for over 50 years and I believed it was going to be a love story and their connection towards the sauna. As usual, I was wrong in thinking I knew how a Nordic film was going to turn out. There were many different scenes of different groups, especially men talking about their problems and life stories. This film was dedicated to Finnish men and tries to demonstrate how saunas are a huge cultural aspect in Finland. The major themes used through out the documentary were men and nature. As mentioned earlier there were many different scenes where there were only men in the sauna. In fact, there is only one scene where there is a woman portrayed through out the documentary. Every scene in these saunas demonstrated men opening up to each other and discussing problems they have had. Usually men are portrayed in Nordic films as very masculine, but this film portrayed men as very sentimental towards past experiences. After doing some research on saunas in the Finnish culture, I found people tend to open up more while they are in the saunas. Maybe it's because they are very comfortable from the hot steam along with the cold beer or alcoholic beverage they drink. I say this only because almost every scene showed each member drinking an alcoholic beverage. Another important theme portrayed in the movie was the idea of nature. Almost every scene showed saunas being out in the middle of the woods or on an island. The Finnish culture, as do many Nordic countries include nature in their daily lives. The director really tries to incorporate this idea of nature into the documentary and I feel nature and the location of the saunas help the people in the movie open up. Being alone or with a group of friends out in the middle of the wilderness, makes one feel very comfortable, helping them open up about their feelings. Even though there are a couple of scenes in the city, the director incorporates snow and darkness to demonstrate this theme of nature. Through out the documentary, there is never a time where the camera is rotating. I found this to be very interesting, because there are very few times where I have scene this. The director uses the Dogme 95 technique of close-ups on the character's faces. This is especially scene when one is opening up to the other; giving the viewer a clear retrospect of how the character is feeling. The director also uses this technique when showing those who are listening to the disturbed man's problems. As I was watching these scenes, I almost felt as if I was sitting right next to them and I really felt for each character. Nudity also plays a significant role throughout the documentary. Every scene in the saunas has each character naked. Furthering my research on the documentary, I learned even the camera crew was naked while filming. I found this to be a very interesting and useful technique. The idea of having everyone naked, including the camera crew, would make one feel less comfortable, creating one to open up more. It's hard to think these characters are not acting, but just going about a discussion. I don't believe I would be able to open up, yet alone be filmed naked in a film. I mentioned earlier how this film was very informative. I say this only because; this would not be a typical Hollywood documentary. Most Hollywood documentaries are very formal and give a layout of facts about a certain subject. This documentary tried to make the viewer understand the Finnish culture without the incorporation of facts. Also, in many Hollywood documentaries, there is usually a narrator in the film. This film did not have a narrator and I found this to be very strange. I understand why the director didn't use a narrator, but it was just something I wasn't accustomed to. I give the film a 5 out of 10 rating, because I didn't find it to be very interesting. Also, I feel the film could've gotten the point across in a shorter length. I understood the whole meaning of film after the fifth scene and I feel the director dragged the film on way too long.
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