For three years Freddy Mouchard followed pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostella in northern Spain. Without entering the realm of religious dogma, Compostella is a spiritual film. The setting is spectacular, with fabulous shots of the surrounding scenery and great panoramic views. The film provides a complete picture of the motivations of today’s pilgrims, with the camera acting as a walking companion: moving along with the walker and capturing both the scenery and the walker’s thoughts and reflections.
Every year many thousands of people make this centuries old pilgrimage, whether for religious reasons or as recreation; for some it is a way of coping with a burn-out. Everyone experiences the trek in his or own personal way, stretching themselves to their mental and physical limits, regardless of age, social background or religious beliefs. This is an adventure in confronting the self, discovering new insights. The director weaves the walkers’ stories into a travel journal, interspersed with quotes from the poets Rimbaud, Apollinaire and Daumal. The walkers themselves are kept off camera, their stories told by several other voices. The landscape plays such a prominent visual role and the viewer experiences the entire trek through the eyes of the walker, right up to Cape Finisterre, the destination.