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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great TV
Funny, poignant, touching, insightful: there are just so many adjectives to describe Brian Sewell's wonderful visual account of his journey down to Santiago. Yes, it is a touch whimsical and introspective at times - but this is precisely what makes Sewell's travelogue so appealing. If you are looking for a flavourless, purely objective, bone-dry, un-judgemental account of...
Published on 8 Jun 2008 by Le Dude

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Naked Pilgrim, the Road to Santiago, no subtitles!
I bought this DVD for my husband who loves travel books and documentary travel films, he is deaf and has to read the subtitles, however, in the case of this DVD where the commentary was most important, there were no subtitles and there was no indication that this facility was not available, this was a huge disappointment for him.
It would be very very helpful if the...
Published on 15 Oct 2011 by P. Leaden


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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great TV, 8 Jun 2008
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This review is from: The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] (DVD)
Funny, poignant, touching, insightful: there are just so many adjectives to describe Brian Sewell's wonderful visual account of his journey down to Santiago. Yes, it is a touch whimsical and introspective at times - but this is precisely what makes Sewell's travelogue so appealing. If you are looking for a flavourless, purely objective, bone-dry, un-judgemental account of the journey to Santiago, then please look elsewhere.If, however, you are looking for a superb piece of television by a scrupulously honest and self-critical art historian, then this is for you.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Naked Pilgrim, the Road to Santiago, no subtitles!, 15 Oct 2011
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P. Leaden (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this DVD for my husband who loves travel books and documentary travel films, he is deaf and has to read the subtitles, however, in the case of this DVD where the commentary was most important, there were no subtitles and there was no indication that this facility was not available, this was a huge disappointment for him.
It would be very very helpful if the absence or presence of subtitles could be clearly indicated before a purchase is made.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Documentary at its best, 26 Oct 2007
By 
Charles E. Mac Kay (Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] (DVD)
This is an astonishing documentary, it is both funny and profound. His cynicism is spectacular and he meets his match at the door of Compostel Cathedral. The snippets and the people are brilliant. It starts at the sea and finishes on a Spanish beach, very funny, very thoughtful very moving. Get it!
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109 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars charming and enthralling, 2 Oct 2004
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P. W. Bunce "oblioandarrow" (Shrivenham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] (DVD)
You may begin to think of him as a self-important buffoon but before too long you believe this 72! year old to be either a consummate actor or an honest and very open pilgrim, baring his soul to the camera. Perfect enunciation and with a wicked turn of phrase this commentator is accompanied by a master camera-man to give us this sublime offering. As a Christian, I must admit that one or two phrases took me slightly aback but his forthright manner won me over. The major dissonance is a spell of French music when he's well into Spain. However, this is a delight that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in architecture, travel or who enjoys captivating raconteurs.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An overlooked gem, 24 Oct 2008
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Rik P "Rik P" (Bournemouth, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] (DVD)
People can be put off by Brian Sewell's accent and apparent pomposity, but if you take the time to actually listen to him, he is in fact, one of the most honest and plain speaking art historians out there. His journey along this route of old Catholic pilgrimage is a delight from start to finish and he clearly shows that he is a pursuer of quality, with no dislike for modernism if it's good enough. His eulogising at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is testament to that. His willingness to show his emotions on camera at the end of his journey was refreshing and he is a complex individual who should be appreciated more than he is.

Take the time to watch this, you'll be rewarded.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wealth of sheer humanity, 16 Nov 2008
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] (DVD)
This was an amazing series when first I saw it on the UK's Channel Five in 2003. Art critic and lapsed Catholic, Brain Sewell, agrees to go on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella in north-western Spain, travelling across France and northern Spain to visit its architectural treasures.

Brian - and I refer to him as Brian since, despite his plummy voice and airs, he comes across so matter-of-factly down-to-earth, even if he sounds condescending when talking "to the great unwashed" (to use his own term) - blandly states at the very beginning, as he drives his Mercedes onto the cross-channel ferry, that he is "a sceptical art critic ... a lapsed Catholic, even a lapsed Christian". He had made the journey forty years before, "but this time the journey turned out to be one of the most difficult of my life."

Aside from his role as an art critic, he is candid too about his personal history, remarking how he lost his virginity in Paris to a sixty-year-old grandmother when he was only twenty, and how he still thinks of sex every six seconds. Shamefully, we witness him succumbing to seasickness in Spain. In his seventies, Brian still has an innocence that charms.

But it's not long before Brian's caustic comments start to flow. Approaching the Calais skyline, he denounces French modern architecture "as the ugliest in Europe". And reaching Paris, we hear his views on the Sainte Chapelle (good), Notre Dame (OK), and Sacre Coeur (hideous).

Programme two sees him set out from Paris to the Loire via Chartres and Orleans. Along the way he has conversations with other pilgrims, and he is often physically moved by their experiences. As for himself, he says he feels a fraud, and "I intensely dislike what is happening to me." He now feels "uncomfortable and troubled" about his pilgrimage.

At Poitiers (programme three) he describes the church in memorable terms: "not much foreplay but a great climax". At Bordeaux he indulges in claret, but then makes the mistake of going to Lourdes, which he describes as "a Catholic Disneyland" - "Lourdes has convinced me that pilgrimage had descended into crass tourism." But Lourdes affects him nevertheless, for the look on his face when an English lady says she will light a candle for him, is the look of a man on the edge of faith. He admits to being caught off-guard, and of being ashamed of his disdain. But still, he is adamant that it is "a faith I USED to share."

Halfway through the series, he crosses the Pyrenees and enters Spain. (One wonders how much of the film is staged. Here Brian cries, "The sea! The sea!", but it is out of his left-hand window, not his right.) His embracing of some modern architecture is witnessed during a visit to Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum. Here he rightly concludes that modern art galleries are centres of modern pilgrimage: "art in its way has replaced religion." Like religion, art itself consists of "intellectual jokes", but there are a difference too in that art does not require the viewer to be good.

At Burgos (programme five), he wallows in the "orgies of decoration" in the cathedral. On to Laon via Fromista, but the church-crawling is taking its toll by this time, and our Brian turns his back on the cathedral - one church too many - and indulges instead in some rough young wine.

The final programme sees him give up his Mercedes and transfer to a horse. Finally reaching his destination, at Santiago his discussions with young pilgrims, the midnight fireworks, and mass next morning in the cathedral all combine and lead him to conclude "that something has penetrated my agnostic armour ... my tortured sceptical soul". Visibly moved, he is forced to turn away. But there is still one more ritual down by the sea to perform. Suffice to say, that I shall not give the game away, but full marks to Brian for bareing his soul (and more) to the watching millions.

Whether your interest is in art, architecture, France, Spain, pilgrimage, or religion, there is a wealth of formidable experience to be had by watching these fascinating and highly entertaining programmes, for what ultimately these programmes exhibit is a wealth of sheer humanity.

Alas, no extras. (What happened to all those outtakes on the cutting-room floor?)
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most honest television you might ever see., 5 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] (DVD)
Living overseas I know nothing of Mr. Sewell so purchasing this DVD was a bit of a risk, but a risk that has paid enormous dividends and it transpires that I have purchased perhaps the best piece of television I have ever witnessed.

I really cannot state enough how utterly enthralling this DVD, how absolutely enchanting and how simply beautiful it is in the purest and most unexpected of ways. Put simply, this is a film, a personal journey of a lapsed catholic following the route that pilgrims commonly take from Paris to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain. In theory this really shouldn't work, he's driving not walking, he has a sharp (albeit very funny) tongue, he's a little awkward on camera, he's emotional and he's a sceptic to boot. But it is precisely because of these factors that it does work. Throw these unlikely bedfellows into the mix and the mélange is honest, fresh, witty, charming, emotional and somewhat sad and all this with not a cue-card in sight!

Ultimately what this is, is one man's journey, his personal spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical journey. Fortunate for us, the man making the journey is intelligent, witty, charming, warm and kind enough not to shut the door when all is not going as he might have hoped. So what you have in the end then is a journey we can share with this eloquent presenter and feel genuinely engaged with both him and the subject, something which rarely (if ever) happens via the medium of television. Strangely enough, the nearest comparable series I can think of which conveys something of the atmosphere and integrity of this is `Oz & James', another film which benefits from huge servings of honesty too.

Highly recommended viewing.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmissable, 29 Jun 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] (DVD)
One of the most diverting, touching and funny programmes I have ever seen. Warm, witty, appreciative and slighly saucy with genuine onscreen emotion.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential viewing, 28 May 2008
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C. Harman (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] (DVD)
He starts the trip expactant of boozy, long lunches but gradually finds the whole thing a good deal more arresting. Whilst Sewell does find the time to drink some half-decent claret, rough young Spanish wine, to indulge in corizo and jigot of mutton and insult unsuspecting members of the general public, he also finds himself unaccountably moved. He goes in Churches, but is no longer of the Church. He appreciates their architecture when appropriate, and also appropriate spatial design within them, but is no longer prone to use them for purposes of worship. Inevitable contact with 'proper' pilgrims along the journey, however, seems almost to tug at his very heart-strings. There is the bald, vigorous West Country cycling pilgrim, whose recounting of his favourite sad Pilgrim tale is unforgivably hacked to pieces by the editing process; there are 2 cheerful Northern lasses in Lourdes; there is even a Scandanavian who happens at the same time to be celebrating his 50th Birthday (obviously not content, like most, with a gift of a new pair of socks). At times the whole thing verges on the farsical - He attempts, when in Spain, to go fishing, but soon finds himself vomiting over the side of the boat, as the onlooking fishermen find it impossible to control their laughter. Is there something allegorical here, this episode coming, as it does, in hot pursuit of Sewell's declamation that the fish is the primordial Christian symbol? The very next day Sewell reaps revenge, as he now becomes spectator to a gushing, town-ravaging flood. He calmly walks down the main thoroughfare which now better resembles a river, umbrella nonchelantly askew, as the poor townspeople scramble to save what is left of their wordly posessions. By the end, he seems to hit a spiritual crisis point, breaking down in tears in the Cathedral at Saint-Iago. On a storm-tossed beech, he then strips mother-naked and rushes headlong into the waiting sea, enveloped by the onrushing waves. It is a series full of emotion, and also the possibility of learning something interesting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We found it heartwarming and soul searching., 3 Jan 2013
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T. Franke (southern UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] (DVD)
It is almost a guide to a fascinating holiday. Brian Sewell has his particular way of presenting things and may not be everyone's cup of tea but throughout the series he is able to present it all in a very enjoyable fashion, with funny moments too. If you watch several episodes at once the intro can be a bit tedious. He has certainly stimulated our family and friends to want to make this journey ourselves. Just wondering where to make our starting point! A cousin of mine cycled from Holland to Santiago de Compostella last year and loved every moment. I have bought this dvd several times so it can't be bad!
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The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD]
The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] by Steven Green (DVD - 2004)
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