Finland picks 'Steam of Life' in Oscar race


COLOGNE, Germany -- Finland has picked sauna-set documentary "Steam of Life" as its contender for the 2011 Foreign Language Oscar.

"Steam" is the first every doc to represent Finland for the Academy Awards and it is one of the stranger titles in this year's Foreign Language race. The premise is simple: directors Joonas Berghall and Mika Hotakainen follow Finnish men into the sauna, strip down and talk about their lives, loves, hopes and fears.

"Steam of Life" has been a favorite on the festival circuit, picking up awards at Nyon's Visions du Reel, the Planeta Doc Review in Warsaw and Tel Aviv's DocAviv fests. It is also one of the five nominees for Scandinavia's top film honor, the Nordic Council Film Prize.
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