Saunalle johtava polku
The path to the Sauna
I will never forget the first time I visited Olli and Tuula-Marja Klemola and their magical smoke sauna deep in the Finnish forests. A friend of mine and I arrived there that day in the late afternoon and it was already beginning to dawn. Olli had spent the afternoon heating up the huge homemade stove and preparing the sauna. So we could go directly into the sauna after our arrival and as soon as we sat down on the hot and old wooden benches of the sauna, a warm and timeless darkness awaited us.
Thick layers of soot surrounded everything and the whole place was lit only by a pale orange glow coming from a few candles next to the window. We told each other stories for hours, enjoying the sweet smell of old wood, smoke and uncounted years. On a second visit to Olli's house, I asked him about his relationship with his sauna. He did not reveal all his secrets, but the old rites of the sauna are still in force and that is what this film is about.
"Saunalle johtava polku" is the first short film in my sauna project. In the long run there will be several documentaries exploring different aspects of Finnish sauna culture.