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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sean Kelly

Doc Thoughts: Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago

walkingthecaminoEl Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is one of the most important of Christian pilgrimage routes.  People from all over the world travel to Spain to walk one of the many many routes leading to Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, with the 500 mile Camino Francés being the most used path.  Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago follows six pilgrims as they make this journey.  Along the way, these individuals experience difficult paths, nagging injuries, new connections, and spiritual awakenings.

The individuals who make the trek across El Camino de Santiago do so for different reasons.  With the Camino being primarily a Christian pilgrimage, the majority of pilgrims find themselves walking this path for spiritual reasons.  However, as seen in this documentary, the Camino attracts people of different shapes and sizes for a wide variety of reasons.  While some of the six pilgrims featured in the film are indeed highly religious, some are just walking the Camino for the challenge of it or the history of the area.

Two of the more standout subjects in the film are American pilgrim Annie and French pilgrim Tatiana.  Annie ends up having to overcome the most challenges in the film, since she ends up developing tendinitis, which brings into question about whether she’ll be able to physically finish the pilgrimage.  As for Tatiana, she is a highly religious single mother, who is walking the Camino with her 3 year old son and brother.  Her biggest challenge throughout the film is putting up with her less devoted non-religious brother, who sees this pilgrimage as more a vacation than a spiritual journey.  While those two individuals stand out the most, all six of the stories told in Walking the Camino are highly compelling.

Probably the best way to describe watching Walking the Camino is that the film is pure escapism.  You just sit back and watch these incredible stories unfold on screen, while also taking in the beautiful Spanish countryside.  It can be surmised that many will be inspired to walk the Camino themselves after seeing this.  Even though walking this 500 mile (805 km) journey would be quite a challenge, I am sure that walking the Camino ends up being quite rewarding for those that complete it.

In conclusion, Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago is a great escapist document of these six individuals’ journey to find themselves.

 9 | REALLY LIKED IT

Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago is now playing at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).