Strangers on the Earth: A Journey on the Camino de Santiago

A soulful riff on the all-too-fleeting rhapsodies of travel.


Strangers on the Earth: A Journey on the Camino de Santiago

Europe's most popular pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago attracts wayfarers of all stripes to walk its ancient paths in search of meaning. One such pilgrim is Dane Johansen, an American cellist who ventured to walk the Camino with his instrument on his back, performing music for his fellow pilgrims along the way. Accompanied by the vast landscapes of Northern Spain, the
haunting music of J.S. Bach for solo cello (performed by Johansen), and the very personal struggles and joys of the many pilgrims encountered along the way, 'Strangers on the Earth' examines the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the concept of 'journey' and the vital role it can play as part of the human experience.


The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage provides the ideal backdrop against which to examine the motivations, dreams and often quixotic needs that drive our species to pair a complex spiritual act with a very simple physical one. Why and how do the two things go hand in hand? Strangers on the Earth examines the shared experience of pilgrims that populate the trail, finding common patterns in both the steady stream of the hundreds of thousands of bodies that move westward on the path each year( the physical) and the inner life of these individuals who are often surrounded by other pilgrims but are still very much alone.

"This scenic and sacred path is warmly profiled in the often captivating, beautifully shot documentary. Following the pilgrims’ arrival at the route’s traditional end, the gorgeous, mainly Romanesque Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the film then tracks a group of travelers on an extension trip to the mysterious Cape Finisterre. Prior to the discovery of the Americas, this rocky peninsula, which juts out into the Atlantic, was once thought to be the edge of the known world. Today it serves as a kind of bonus to the Camino walk; a dazzling, remote spot where clothing is ritually burned in oceanfront bonfires and a famed, 1800s-era lighthouse illuminates the dangerous coast. This stirringly captured sequence provides a memorable coda to a largely inspiring and transporting portrait." -Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
Not Rated
Documentary, Religion, Spirituality
English, Spanish, German
Tristan Cook
Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

It sounds like a dance, but one does not "do the Camino" in the way that one would do the Macarena. It's a pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago – Europe's most famous path, walked by staunch hikers in search of different things, carrying their burdens as if they were backpacks. In director Tristan ...

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