Julie Zarifeh, Sue Morris, Terry, Mark Thompson, Claude Tranchant, Cheryl Stone
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A meditative film that invites reflection and wonder…
Offering an inspirational look at the process of coping with emotional and physical trauma, Camino Skies is a powerful feature documentary looking at the lengths people will go through to experience recovery.
Tracing the path of a group of Antipodean walkers as they traverse the 900km route from the French Basque town of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the film naturally provides space for each individual story to shine through.
The major motivating force at work in all of their recent histories is a desire to push themselves and to confront and hopefully come to terms with recent or ongoing pain. Each of the walkers have experienced grief of some kind, and the filmmakers sensitively display all of the accounts with integrity and purpose.
Displayed against the stunning scenery of the mountainous route, a pathway considered to be the Mecca of pilgrimages for religious and non-religious alike, the questions each walker asks themselves take on profound implications. At points, the film delivers a powerful level of emotional impact.
The filmmakers never overdo this however, and each response, be it laughter or tears, always comes across as a human reaction to where they are and what they happen to be talking about. The various personalities in the film are also linked by their sheer passion for wanting to complete the arduous walk.
Aged from 40 – 70, the walkers deal with all weather and terrain along the way, bravely coping with the blisters and bruises that come with the territory. Away from their homes for a whole month, the walkers learn to help each other; the comradeship and shared desire to experience a greater achievement is portrayed evocatively.
Key to this accomplishment of showing the stories of recovery up against the big picture of nature, is Noel Smyth’s cinematography. Demonstrating the majestic grandeur of the Pyrenees and the intense elements that preside around them, the camera work is at once transporting and beautiful.
It’s also a well-paced film, benefiting from editing that pushes the film along elegantly. Like the walk itself, it’s a steady and gradual journey that does not have need of overly dramatic disclosures or jump cuts.
A meditative film that invites reflection and wonder, Camino Skies delivers on its brief. We discover why people choose to put their bodies and minds through the pilgrimage, and just what can be learned. In effect, it’s a moving account of moving on.