Critics are brimming with praise for the award-winning documentary Steam of Life, premiering tonight (August 2, 2011) on PBS. Check local listings.

Steam of Life has its U.S. premiere
on POV, August 2, 2011.

Steam of Life reveals the naked truth of the inner lives of modern men and goes deep into the inner sanctum of Finnish life, the sauna. Read what critics have had to say about this beautifully and hauntingly shot film:

John Anderson of Variety says,
“It’s life at its most real. The small hot room becomes something sacred and transformative. Reservations melt away, and a kind of joy rises up like steam from a bed of hot rocks.”

The Wall Street Journal‘s Nancy Dewolf Smith calls Steam of Life “bittersweet” and says “the shock of intimacy is astonishing.”

Stephen Farber of the Hollywood Reportercalls the film “engaging” and says it “gives an impressive picture of all parts of Finland, from bustling urban centers to the remote, wintry wilderness.”

Blogger Erin Donovan of Steady Diet of Film praises the filmmakers who “stand back and give [the characters] the space to talk and with that comes an immediate, visible sense of catharsis. The filmmakers match the experience by keeping the shots simple, applying zero voice-over narration and the cutting in elegant, long takes.”

POV’s 24th season continues Tuesday nights through September 27, concluding with a special broadcast on November 10. Keep up with the films at, on Twitter @povdocs or onFacebook.

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

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Alva French is a freelance multimedia journalist and was a POV Digital intern in Summer 2011. She has been blogging on French and Francophone music, politics and culture since 2007 and is an aspiring documentary filmmaker. Alva is currently an M.A. candidate in International Reporting at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.