© Antony Gormley's Waste Man commissioned by Artangel for Penny Woolcock's feature film Exodus
Director: Tommi Mendel (Switzerland)
Run time: 73'
Location/Ethnic group: Shikoku, Japan/ Japanese
Language: In Japanese with English subtitles
Production/Distribution: Tiger Toda Productions
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.