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

Each Friday, we post a selection of viewer comments relating to the week’s film.

This week, viewers watched Steam of Life, a moody, comic and moving study of Finnish men as framed by the national obsession with the sauna. The film elicited responses about the surprising openness of Finnish men on the Steam of Life film companion site, Facebook and Twitter

“This movie shows a side of Finland that you won’t see in the official brochures of the Finnish Tourist Board. If you want to understand the “Finnish mentality” (if such a collective consciousness exists), this film will shed some light for you on the subject. It’s raw honesty made me cry, in a good way.”

“This was a haunting sad reminiscence of my childhood and being taken to the sauna every Thursday night by my father. In those days the Finnish males did not emote as much. Silence was the golden rule.”
Dr. Wilfred Laine

“Men in all cultures are reticent about disclosing their private thoughts to each other. Finnish men are lucky to have a place, the sauna, where they can open up. No doubt, their mental health has benefited beyond measure. Also, the song at the end was beautiful.”

“As a Finnish Male I know of the existentialist ponderings one can experience with another, undressed and beer in hand.”

“Reminds me of an elderly Finn neighbor who bragged about the high temperature in his sauna. He did not brag when the sauna was cinders and ashes one Sunday morning! Too hot.”

“One of the best documentary reveals I’ve ever seen, @povdocs:
@FilmingDocs (via Twitter)

“This program was a marker beacon, at least in my life, in regard to trying to live fully, and honestly, in regard to those whom I love, and my fellow man.”
Ray Taylor

Steam of Life is streaming online for a limited time. Watch the film and tell us what you think about it on the Steam of Life film companion site, Facebook or Twitter.

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POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.