Strangers On The Earth

"This transcendent new doc takes a broad, expansive view of those travelling the Camino, and it’s got another hook: it’s underscored by music from J.S. Bach’s six suites for solo cello." - NOW

In the footsteps of Walking the Camino, Tristan Cook’s lively portrait of modern pilgrims and fellow travelers winding their way on the Camino de Santiago muses on the psychological and spiritual dividends of a 30-day hike. The landscape is beautiful but brutal, the dorms are packed and the bunks are hard. Some find solace in solitude; others discover kinship and community en route. The case of Dane Johansen is remarkable: he embarks on the nearly 600-mile journey carrying his cello on his back.

Johansen had been planning the trek for years, and raising funds online, with the notion of performing and recording Bach’s Cello Suites in thirty-six churches along the Camino. The reality is rougher—and colder—than he expected. There is literally nowhere he can warm up and practice in private. Everyone’s got their cell phones out to record their “special moment,” but he’s not proud of his performance level. A few hundred miles further on he finds a deeper understanding of the ego that has brought him this far, and a new appreciation for the gift of music. Of course, not everyone finds deeper truths at the end of the road. But almost everybody seems happy to have walked the walk, and armchair travelers will be equally glad to come along for the ride, take in the views, and perhaps limber up for their own pilgrimage. - VIFF


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