I had the extreme pleasure of viewing a short documentary film, as part of the Palm Springs Documentary Film Festival, this past weekend. The title was simply Camino Documentary. The film did so much toward refilling my creative and spiritual well, which had about run dry.
For those who don’t know about the Camino, it is an ancient pilgrimage, a five hundred mile journey from a small town on the border of France, to Santiago, Spain. The cinematography was excellent. The individual stories of each person (all strangers and from different parts of the world) who made this pilgrimage were touching and inspirational. With only a backpack, a pair of boots, some walking sticks, and an open mind, each person took this journey to themselves.
There was something magical, spiritual, about making the pilgrimage with these six people, even though I was seated in the comfort of a movie theater with air conditioning. Yet, I did feel that I was on the journey with them and could feel their physical pain of blisters, sore knees, and tendonitis. I could also feel their joy of accomplishment. I’m not a religious person, but definitely spiritual. I gain sustenance from nature, so I shared in their amazement at the scenery, and enjoyed the peace and calm of the rhythm of their footsteps as they made their daily kilometers goal.
There is a saying that nobody makes it to Santiago alone. The journey brings out the best in human nature, and unexpected kindnesses of strangers abound. If there is one lesson to be learned it is in the power of giving and receiving. I loved how each person tapped into strengths they never knew they had, and how the simplicity of living out of one backpack and sleeping in hostels next to total strangers, and relying on the goodness of strangers, helped each person to grow. While they started the journey for a different reason: some religious or spiritual, some to “find” themselves, others to grow or strengthen their physical body, others to connect or find the meaning of life, the end result was that each person came away from the experience stronger, physically, and emotionally.
The film’s producer, Lydia B. Smith, gives backstory on the making of this film on the website. Her crew of twelve, with four cameras, followed the adventures of six strangers and shot over three hundred hours of film. They are in the process of gaining donations to fine tune their film, which is scheduled to air on PBS nationwide, but first it must be cut to a one-hour long version. That costs money. Even a “like” on their Facebook page helps, as that will gain recognition and sponsorships.
To view a wonderful trailer go here: www.caminodocumentary.org