Whether you are familiar with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, or are just starting to hear its calling, this documentary should be at the top of your must-see list. Director Lydia B. Smith walked the 500-mile trail in 2008 and was so moved Camino’s magnetic power that she decided to walk it again, along with her friend Annie O’Neil. This time with an international film crew and a strong hunch that they would meet some interesting subjects along the way. The Camino provided.
Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago follows six pilgrims on their journey from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago. During the first days of filming, the crew fatefully encountered the pilgrims that would become the cast: Sam from Brazil/UK, Wayne from Canada, Misa from Denmark, Tomás from Portugal, Tatiana from France. These pilgrims and Annie from the USA all had different reasons for doing the Camino, and faced different challenges along the way. You get to see their real Camino experiences—from blisters and debilitating injury—to camaraderie and unexpected romance. There are interviews with priests and hospitaleros who describe what the pilgrimage is about. By the end of the film, I really understood the camaraderie of people from all over the world converging on the same path. The film has stunning cinematography that captures the beauty of nature— from tiny dew drops on grass—to the majestic mountains of the Pyrenees.
I had the opportunity to see this film and meet featured pilgrim and co-producer Annie O’Neil when it was screened in Berkeley earlier this year. I recently bought the DVD boxed set, which includes bonus material and two hours of unseen footage.
Fans of this film will appreciate the in-depth interviews with the cast. I particularly liked what Sam said about the Camino changing the chemistry of her body. She threw away all her medications, just started walking and all her symptoms went away. The boxed set is available for purchase and makes a beautiful gift for any Caminophile on your list. See more purchase options.
Clearly, I am a fan of this film and recommend it to anyone who is interested in walking the Camino. I am looking forward to Annie O’Neil’s new documentary Phil’s Camino.