Get ready to hit the trail with some of the best films about the Camino de Santiago.
The unparalleled scenery, the morning mist on the rolling hills, the rich history, the characters you meet along the way and the abundance of local legend. The Camino de Santiago itself is so dramatic that it’s like something straight out of a movie – so it’s no surprise that it has appeared on the big screen both in Hollywood blockbusters classics and gripping independent documentaries, and that there are many films about the Camino de Santiago.
It’s tough to encapsulate what the 800KM walk to Santiago de Compostela has meant to millions of pilgrims in its thousand-year history, but these films give a beautiful snapshot of different elements of the Way. They capture the spiritual significance and the rich history of the iconic pilgrimage, which is the reason why over 200,000 people from all walks of life embark on the journey each year.
We run through some of the most unique cinematic dipictions of The Way of St. James.
1. Looking For Infinity: El Camino (2017)
Looking For Infinity: El Camino is a film of just an hour long, gives a lesser seen look at the minds of pilgrims who set off on foot to Santiago. This introspective, beautifully unpolished documentary shows the Camino through the minds and words of real pilgrims.
Many of those pilgrims featured are yearning for meaning in their lives, and to take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life and technology and reconnect with what is really important – whatever that is. It is a fascinating exploration of some of the timeless questions faced by humanity.
Directed by: Aaron Leaman.
2. I’ll Push You (2016)
“I’ll Push You: A Camino Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair” is a feature-length documentary following two best friends who set out on their 800KM across mountains, valleys, deserts and swamps. Many have set out on this journey, but none quite like Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray.
Justin suffers from a rare neurological disease which has left him in a wheelchair, and in 2014 he was pushed by his best friend Patrick across northern Spain. This is not just the story of a Camino journey, but an eye-opening look at the struggles faced by Justin on a day to day basis, and an inspiring tale of hope, friendship, and perseverance.
Get the tissues, this one is a tear-jerker.
Directed by: Chris Karcher, Terry Parish
3. St. Jacques… La Mecque (2005)
When their mother dies, she stipulates in her will that her three feuding adult children will inherit her vast fortune – but only if the complete the famous Camino de Santiago as a trio.
In this French film, the estranged siblings reluctantly set out to walk from Puy-en-Velay to Santiago de Compostela, and have to learn to work together to reach their destination. In doing so, the two brothers and one sister unite and rekindle their family values.
This warm-hearted comedy was released in 2005 to mixed reviews, but has since become a cult classic for pilgrims.
Directed by: Coline Serreau
4. O Apostolo (The Apostle) (2012)
An escaped convict returns to a remote village on the Camino de Santiago, to recover jewels he hid their years earlier. Once he gets there, he gets a rude awakening when he encounters sinister spirits.
This hauntingly imaginative stop-motion horror masterpiece, by Spanish writer-director Fernando Cortizo, was critically acclaimed upon its release in 2012. The film received numerous awards and nominations, including a nomination for Best Animated Film at the prestigious Goya Awards in Spain.
Directed by: Fernando Cortizo
5. The Way (2011)
This list couldn’t be complete without, arguably, the most famous film about the Camino de Santiago, The Way.
The Way is an original film directed, written and produced by American actor by Emilio Estevez, and starring his real-life father, Martin Sheen.
When Daniel chooses to walk on the Camino de Santiago, but is subsequently killed in the Pyrenees, his father travels to Spain to pick up the journey where his son left off with his sons ashes in his backpack. He goes with the aim of gaining greater understanding of his son, but finishes with a greater understanding of himself.
Emilio Estevez said that in making this film, he wanted to honour the tradition of the Camino de Santiago, and promote the pilgrimage to every demographic.
Directed by: Emilio Estevez
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