A young mother does it to get closer to God, toting her 3-year-old with her. A Canadian widower does it to honor his wife. A young Portuguese athlete does it for the physical challenge. A depressed thirtysomething Brazilian just wants to experience a sense of “forward motion” in her life.
They’re all Walking the Camino in Lydia Smith’s documentary of that name, which will play for a week at Merrill’s Roxy Cinemas starting this Friday.
The Camino de Santiago is a medieval pilgrimage route that winds 500 miles from the France-Spain border through the countryside to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Today, thousands of people from all over the globe walk the path each year — some for religious reasons, others for the magnificent scenery or the sense of achievement.
Smith, who will be in Burlington to do Q&As at both of the Roxy’s June 11 shows, walked the Camino herself in 2008. The following year, she returned to make her first feature film about it. Her camera captures both the breathtaking sights — the route crosses the Pyrenees — and the human quirks and drama on display en route.
For instance, we watch as Tatiana, the fiercely devout mom, spars with her irreverent brother. Two other pilgrims develop a friendship based on shared pace that slowly blossoms into something more. Sometimes the film is a meditative experience, sometimes a lively character study.
And it’s not the only inspiring “walking” film the Roxy will screen that week. Also starting on Friday is Walking With the Enemy, a World War II drama based on the true story of Pinchas Rosenbaum, a Hungarian Jew who infiltrated the Nazi ranks to rescue others from the Holocaust.
As all eyes turn again to the conflict in Iraq, film can offer a window into the everyday lives and concerns of the nation’s noncombatants. In director Oday Rasheed’s Qarantina (2010), one of just four films produced in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, a family lies low in a gated house in Baghdad, forced to shelter a lodger who happens to be an assassin. If there’s danger outside the home, there’s plenty inside, too.
The Hollywood Reporter calls Qarantina “adept at conveying the anguishing atmosphere of occupied Baghdad.” It screens this Sunday as part of the Vermont International Film Festival’s Global Roots series.
For local filmmakers, VTIFF has a reminder: The deadline for submitting work to the annual Vermont Filmmakers’ Showcase — part of the October festival — is July 28. There are no genre or length restrictions or fees. More info at vtiff.org.
Haven’t seen all eight hours of Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie yet? Now’s your chance to do it on your couch. Vermont PBS is launching a second HD channel, Vermont PBS Plus, with a weeklong broadcast of the compilation that took four dozen local filmmakers years of effort to produce under the leadership of Norwich’s Nora Jacobson. The epic jaunt through recurring themes of Vermont history and culture starts on Monday, July 14, and continues with nightly episodes through the following Saturday.