30 July 2008

Movie review: Arukihenro (2006)

Arukihenro (lit, walking pilgrim) is an authentic document of modern Japanese pilgrimage, a tidy time-capsule capturing the hearts and minds of pilgrims as they make the 1400km trek around the island of Shikoku. Eschewing narration, emotive music, special effects, or multiple camera angles, self-taught Swiss filmmaker Tommi Mendel delivers a 75minute record of pilgrims young and old in their own voices telling the stories of why they walk and what they hope to achieve. Having recently completed the pilgrimage myself, the film was evocative of long days walking, hours of quiet gratefully relieved by contact with fellow pilgrims, sharing stories and meals, fortifying one another for the next leg in the journey. Completed in partial fulfillment of post-graduate studies, the film appears to be available at present only directly from the filmmaker's website.