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WALKING PILGRIMS (Arukihenro) (5)

16:30, Wednesday 27th June, Bragg

Director: Tommi Mendel (Switzerland)

Year: 2006

Run time: 73'

Location/Ethnic group: Shikoku, Japan/ Japanese

Language: In Japanese with English subtitles

Production/Distribution: Tiger Toda Productions

Walking Pilgrims

For over a thousand years, the Shikoku Henro pilgrimage has connected 88 sacred places along a circular route of 875 miles around Shikoku, Japan’s fourth largest island. Shot over a period of nine months and based on ethnographic survey methods, this film reveals in an intimate manner, the motives, aims and desires of modern Japanese people as they follow this Buddhist pilgrimage. The filmmakers themselves walked the entire route, accompanying various different pilgrims through long stages of their journeys. Not only are the experiences of the pilgrims themselves documented, but also impressions and observations of Shikoku residents, priests and academic experts. Presenting the pilgrimage as a microcosm, Walking Pilgrims offers profound insights into the religious and socio-cultural background of modern Japanese society whilst at the same time pointing to the universal human quest for self-knowledge.