SynopsisWhen thinking of pilgrimage routes, St. James’ Way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain comes to most people's minds. But it is now completely "overrun" and so more and more pilgrims are looking for an alternative route. And there is one: namely, Pilgrimsleden (The pilgrim’s route), also known as St. Olav’s Way or The Old King’s Road. The main route is approximately 640 kilometres (400 miles) long. It starts in Oslo and heads north to Trondheim where the impressive Gothic church, Nidaros Cathedral, was once an important pilgrimage destination in the Middle Ages. At the time of the Reformation in Protestant Norway about 500 years ago, it fell into oblivion, but it has now regained its fame as a result of the growing popularity of pilgrimages.
In 2010, the European Commission ranked St. Olav’s Way equal to St. James’ Way, which is much better-known. As a result, St. Olav’s Way will become very popular and famous in the near future.
The 53-minute film follows the pilgrimage route from Oslo, via Hamar to Trondheim. The towns are briefly presented along the way, but the main focus is on Norway's beautiful scenery and its magnificent nature, sometimes unspoilt and gentle, but often wild and awe-inspiring; including the animals you can see there with a little luck, mainly the elks and musk oxen in Dovrefjell.
The film not only explores the historic background of St. Olav’s Way, but also the possibility of gaining higher self-awareness during pilgrimages. As sights become more interesting if they are linked to a special topic, Norway's national hero, Peer Gynt, is referred to throughout the film. The pilgrim path leads past his place of birth.
Everyone who goes on a pilgrimage walks slowly. Their main objective is to gain better self-awareness. And the pace of the narrative is adapted accordingly in the film. Long takes, accompanied at times by music or natural sounds, achieve the dramatic effect of the portrayed nature. Descriptive commentaries off-camera particularly serve to present a scene or place of interest "candidly". The thoughts of the screenwriter are completely in contrast, as well as the conversations with the other pilgrims, hostel-keepers and local people.
And so a meeting takes place in the Dovre mountains with a special group of pilgrims: juvenile offenders/prisoners from the south of Norway heading for Trondheim with their prison supervisors and chaplains. This type of re-socialization program, typical of Norway, caused a sensation at the time but proved successful in the end.