Films are an important feature of popular culture but can they also be a vehicle for theological enquiry? Veritas thinks they can! Every month during the Year of Faith, we offer a Film of the Month,which we invite you to watch, reflect on and discuss. As an initiative for the Year of Faith, you might like to start a Year of Faith Film Club in your work, school or parish community, where these films can be discussed and shared. Film reviews are kindly provided by Fr John-Paul Sheridan PhD.
Film of the Month for April: The Way
‘The pilgrim wanders through life, often limping, sometimes bewildered, at times quite lost; and the pilgrim is searching, often quite unconsciously, for something or someone to make sense of life, and certainly to make sense of death.’
Cardinal Basil Hume – To Be A Pilgrim
The notion of pilgrimage is central to the Christian life, and from earliest times in Christianity, people have gone on pilgrimage; firstly to Jerusalem and the Holy Land and then later to places associated with saints and with Our Lady. The concept of pilgrimage has both an external and internal dimension: the journey outward to a place of pilgrimage mirrors the journey of life; the journey inward is the one that takes place during and often after the pilgrimage is over.
This month’s film encapsulates the essence of pilgrimage and Christian journey very well. Released in 2010, it tells the story of an American, played by Martin Sheen, who travels to Spain after the death of his son and carries his ashes along the Camino de Santiago.
Martin Sheen is probably best remembered for playing Captain Benjamin Willard in the 1979 film Apocalypse Now and more recently for his portrayal of President Josiah Bartlet in The West Wing. He is also very well known as a political activist and a strongly committed Roman Catholic.
The film was directed by Sheen’s son, Emilio Estevez, and also stars his daughter Renée. Sheen is deeply conscious of his paternal Spanish roots, and the idea for the film came about when he took a trip with Eztevez’s son along the Camino during a family holiday.
For a film synopsis and questions for reflection, please click here.