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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
The Naked Pilgrim - Road To Santiago [DVD] [2003]
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on 8 June 2017
I had given away a copy of this series and really wanted to see it again so bought another copy.
It has been fun and quite emotional to travel on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela with late Brian Sewell who had made the journey as a young man and was retracing his footsteps all be it in his beloved old Mercedes. He confesses to being a lapsed Catholic who, by the end of the journey has become a lapsed sceptic.
The people he meets and their simple faith moves him to tears at times.
Well worth watching.
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on 20 June 2017
Fabulous and moving series where Brian follows the pilgrim route to Santiago. Compelling watching and beautifully written as you would expect from Brian Sewell.
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on 14 July 2017
I first saw this on the T.V. after the programme was made. I enjoyed it so much that when I saw that there was a DVD of the programme, I just had to have a copy. I have not been disappointed. It is a delight.
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on 19 November 2014
Funny and very entertaining..
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on 26 October 2007
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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on 8 June 2008
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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on 5 October 2011
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 November 2008
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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on 1 October 2017
Having watched the tv progs I bought the dvd to watch again . Brian Sewell was an art critic / expert who , sadly, had lost his faith in the Christian Church . His journey moved me greatly , despite my own lack of a Roman Catholic background . As a C of E member , I can only feel a huge wave of sadness that Brian never regained his faith on camera . We can only hope that he did so in private ..........
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on 31 May 2017
Don't waste your money, this guy is awful
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