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"The Way" DVD MOVIE - “The Way” is uplifting and humorous, a nice break from the action death movies so common today. “The Way”, is a 2010 Vintage American Drama Film based on the Book "The Way" by Jack Hitt. It is a collaboration between Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez to honor the Camino de Santiago and promote the traditional pilgrimage. “THE WAY”, written and directed by Emilio Estevez, was filmed entirely in France and Spain along the actual Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Trail. The film is beautiful, thoughtful and simple. Dramatic vistas and panoramas scenery as well as cultural snapshots enhances the storyline. It’s fresh and very nicely done. It will touch people in many difference ways. It’s quite literally a film about a journey, in the Physical and Spiritual Sense. It affects people and makes you reflect upon your own superficiality we all share and relate to. Quite simply, this film is inspirational.

“The Way”, is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends and the challenges we face in life while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an irascible American Doctor who travels to France to deal with the tragic loss of his son Daniel (played by Emilio Estevez). Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage walking "The Way of St. James" to honor his son's desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn't plan on is the profound impact this trip will have on his life.

Inexperienced as a trekker, Tom soon discovers that he will not be alone on this journey. On "The Way", Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, each with their own issues and looking for greater meaning in their lives; a Dutchman (Yorick van Wageningen), a Canadian (Deborah Kara Unger) and an Irish writer (James Nesbitt), who is suffering from writer's block.

Through Tom's unresolved relationship with his son and the unexpected and oftentimes amusing experiences he encounters along "The Way", Tom discovers the difference between "The life we live and the life we choose".

For those who are interested in the spiritual essence and beauty of the Camino de Santiago I recommended this movie and for all those who are about to undertake the spiritual trekk of walking The Way” of Saint James.
History of the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage - The Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage or The Way of St. James or St. James’ Way as it is often known by its Spanish name the Camino de Santiago is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north western Spain where the Apostle Saint James the Great is said to be laid to rest. The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the ultimate goal of the pilgrimage. The Way of Saint James has been one of the most important Christian Pilgrimages since Medieval times and it has existed for over 1,000 years. It is considered as one of three pilgrimages on which all sins could be forgiven, the others being the Via Francigena to Rome and the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. However there is not a single route, there are many numbers of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. A few of the routes are considered to be the primary ones. Santiago de Compostela is such an important pilgrimage destination as it is considered the burial site of the Apostle James the Great (Saint James). Legend states that Saint James’ remains were transported by boat from Jerusalem to the Pyrenees Mountains of Northern Spain where they were buried on the site of what is now the Cathedral of Santiago in city of Santiago de Compostela. In the middle Ages the route was highly traveled. Reformation and unrest in 16th Century Europe resulted in its decline. In the early 1980’s only a few pilgrims per year arrived in Santiago de Compostela. Since the late 1980’s “The Way” has attracted a growing number of modern day pilgrims from all around the world. The route was declared the First European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987 and inscribed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1993. The earliest records of visits paid to the shrine dedicated to Saint James at Santiago de Compostela date from the 8th Century in the times of the Kingdom of Asturias. This was the most renowned medieval pilgrimage and the custom of those who carried back with them from Galicia a Scallop Shells as proof of their journey gradually extended to other forms of pilgrimage. From across France and Spain the pilgrimage route led from shrine to shrine just as a Caravan route leads from Oasis to Oasis. The pilgrimage as penance; Once a system of penance had been established by the Church, part of the rituals of confession and absolution, pilgrimages were established as adequate punishments assessed for certain crimes. The Catholic Encyclopedia noted: “In the registers of the Inquisition at Carcasson” we found the four following places noted as being the centre of the greater pilgrimages to be imposed as penances for the graver crimes, the tomb of the Apostles in Rome, the Shrine of St. James at Santiago de Compostela, Spain and St. Thomas’s body at Canterbury, England and the relics of the Three Kings at Cologne, Germany.” Pre-Christian History of the route prior to its existence as a Catholic Pilgrimage, the route is believed to also have had significance for the Ancient Pagan peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, among them the Celts and later the Romans who conquered Spain. The site of Santiago de Compostela itself may have been perhaps a Roman Shrine. To this day many of the pilgrims continue on from Santiago de Compostela to the Atlantic coast of Galicia to finish their pilgrimage at Spain’s western most point Cape Finisterre (Galician, Fisterra). Though many pilgrims today erroneously believe Cape Finisterre is also the western most point of mainland Europe, the fact that the Romans called it Finisterrae (literally the end of the world in Latin) indicates that they viewed it as a place of significance. Pagan influences can still be seen along “The Way” indeed some of the modern-day pilgrims themselves are attracted more to the pagan legends associated with “The Way” rather than the Christian. The modern-day pilgrimage; Today thousands of Christian pilgrims and non-Christian pilgrims each year set out from their homes or from popular starting points across Europe. The most popular route is the French Way or “Camino Frances” on which most pilgrims start from either Saint Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains or from Roncesvalles on the Spanish side. However many pilgrims begin further a field from cities such as Le Puy or St. Albain. These modern-day pilgrims walk for weeks or months to visit the city of Santiago de Compostela. Some pilgrims travel by bicycle. In addition to people on a religious pilgrimage there are many travelers and hikers who walk the route for non-religious reasons such as for enjoyment, travel, sport or simply the challenge of walking “The Way” in a beautiful foreign land.

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