Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Way

There  continues to be much  bad or financial or war crime news around at present. Blogging again about  any of those would simply to add to the atmosphere of sadness they generate though I cannot resist repeating my previous posts to the effect that the Euro will only remain viable  if Germany bails it out.

A film we watched recently was by contrast interesting funny and thankfully upbeat:

The Way is  directed by Emilio Estevez and stars inter alia his father Martin Sheen whose great portrayal  of fictional Josiah Bartlett President of USA made The West Wing one of the all time great TV series.

The Way shows Martin Sheen at his home in the USA, learning of his  (fictional) son's dying while on the pilgrims' way to Santiago de Compostela along the Pyrennes in Northern Spain and being moved to  make the same pilgrimage himself  carrying his son's ashes and scattering them along the Way and at the end.

Martin Sheen in the plot came from  a wealthy American background so  early on his being faced  with staying in pilgrims' hostels brought him   down to earth somewhat. Yet the film was realistic enough to catch him subsequently  deciding to stay in a luxury hotel en route.

His  unfolding  relationships with the characters he meets along the way  are fun but insightful, as is his portrayal of coming to terms with the grief of his sons' sudden  death.   Those making the pilgrimage have 'passports' which are stamped at each overnight stop to record their progress. A sweet/sour moment  occurs when grief causes Martin Sheen to have a few too many drinks. The local  police lock him up for the night and then ask him for his 'passport' to stamp before sending him on his way.

I particularly appreciated the discussions in the film  about why he and the 3 other pilgrims  (James Nesbit Deborah  Kara Unger, Yorick van Wagening) he quasi-teams up with, are travelling the Camino de Santiago. None of them had any especially religious reasons and  the tales of each of them when eventually they began to recount   episodes from their personal paths, represent parts of life that are familiar.

 Each of the characters also  had potential for grating on and clashing with the others, almost like people in a crowded District Line commuter   carriage yet the way (no pun intended)  in which they ended up supporting each other and in due course befriending each other was very uplifting

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