Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Way

I'll be honest: my mother was allocated these tickets in the BFI ballot and I ended up going with my sister purely because she couldn't make it anymore. Having seen The Way Back and The Great White Silence  last Autumn, I thought I had seen my share of long, tiring, spiritual journey type films. However, I was pleasantly surprised and would recommend this film to you all!

The film was written, produced and directed by Emilio Estevez. Estevez's father, Martin Sheen, plays the protagonist alongside James Nesbitt, Deborah Kara Unger and Yorick Van Wageningen. The Way tells the story of Tom (Sheen), an Opthalmologist who decides to walk the Camino de Santiago (or the Way of St James) when his son is killed on his first day of the walk.

The Camino is a journey taken by pilgrims for thousands of years. Originally, pilgrims began their journey at their doorstep but the most popular route in modern times is to walk or cycle from the French Pyrenees Mountains (in St Jean Pied de Port) to Santiago. The project was deeply personal to the father-son team as Sheen had previously attempted to walk the Camino during a short period of time off between filming The West Wing. The film was made on a very small budget and used an entirely Spanish crew, on location. Sheen did his own stunts (including jumping into a deep, rapid river!!) and passers-by were real pilgrims making their own way down the Camino.

Both Sheen and Estevez stayed behind after the preview to answer questions from the BFI's host and also the audience. I found Sheen and Estevez talkative (particularly Sheen - I've never met someone even more loquacious than myself before!! Except maybe my sister!!), kind, patient, intelligent and very funny. 

Before you write the film off as spirtual/ boring/ whatever...let me add that it is very funny, moving and I am sure will move you and maybe even inspire you to go on your own journey! Go see it!

Love, AB x

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