The scenery is nice, but Walking The Camino: Six Ways To Santiago’s myriad clichés make the doc mind-numbingly dull.
WALKING THE CAMINO: SIX WAYS TO SANTIAGO (Lydia Smith). 84 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (July 18) at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
Call me spiritually challenged, but this doc about more than a dozen pilgrims making their way along Spain's historic trail to Santiago de Campostela is a spectacular snore.
As Lydia Smith's subjects from countries all over the world make their way from Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees to Santiago in northwest Spain, they get sore feet, make new friends and deliver more bromides than a 19th-century apothecary. Change is the only constant, the road itself is home, you can't find the answer if you don't know the question. Sheesh.
Smith follows way too many pilgrims, so you can't get invested in any of them. She'd have given the film more heft had she narrowed her focus to the more intriguing among them: the walkers who fall in love; the French mum who tramps with her three-year-old (a dubious proposition) and her brother, who's too much of a party animal to take the journey seriously; the two elder Canadians.
Curiously, there's nothing about the fascinating shift in public perception of the pilgrimage and thus the reasons people take it on. The trek does have a centuries-old Christian basis but has morphed into a project for people trying to find themselves. Sick of those last two words? You'll hate this pic.
But anyone with a deep spiritual practice will find nothing here either.
It is good to look at, thanks to cinematographer Pedro Valenzuela, but go watch a travelogue if that's what you're after.