Last July the hottest ticket at the Galway Film Fleadh was the one that would gain you entry to a screening of the documentary “Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago”. This wasn’t surprising as just about everyone in Ireland knows someone who has walked the 500-mile pilgrimage path from the south of France to Santiago de Compostela, in the province of Galicia in north-western Spain. The documentary is now set for a series of Boston screenings at Brookline's Coolidge Corner Theatre late this month and in early July.
Producer and Director Lydia B. Smith was in Galway to introduce the film to a packed house. The Oregon woman walked the Camino Frances in 2008 and said she was so inspired that she decided she had to spread the word. Already working in film and television, she was suitably qualified to undertake the task of capturing on film the experiences of other pilgrims, and she does so splendidly.
In 2009 Lydia returned with her 12-member crew to St Jean Pied de Port and started to interview pilgrims before they set out on their journey. Some 15 pilgrims in total were selected and three camera units followed them over the Pyrenees and across northern Spain to Santiago. In the finished documentary we follow the ups and down of six pilgrims, seven actually but two Canadian men were walking together. The diverse group is in keeping with the varied backgrounds of those you will meet on the Camino and demonstrates the often stated fact that no two people set out for the same reason.
We watch their trials and tribulations, share in their innermost thoughts, witness their outlook on life change, feel their pain, see friendships form, pray that none will give up and we share their elation as they finally enter Praza do Obradoiro in Santiago.
Anyone who has walked all or part of the Camino will feel an affinity with the pilgrims featured and the documentary provides an accurate view of what those planning to follow in their footsteps can expect.
The DVD will go on sale in the US in late autumn but it will also be shown in Coolidge Corner Theatre from June 26 to July 3. In the meantime you can watch a short preview and read all about it at caminodocumentary.org