Contemporary filmmaking and medieval aesthetics are paired wonderfully in this stop-motion animation film about faith, the Church, redemption, and debt payback. The setting is the famed and merciless pilgrims’ way of Santiago de Compostela, where an escaped thief, Ramón, in search of a new, pastoral life free of crime, goes in search of another man’s buried treasure. The real and spiritual worlds, however, block his path to redemption and peace — in this case, the Spanish church and rural convention, portrayed as a bewildering, complex mix of hierarchy, superstition, decadence and caprice. But the Church is also a place of great beauty, and the animators render the divine with intricate vignettes that look like medieval illustrated books of hours: divine blues, hell-hot reds, intricate lines and patterns, and character sketches out of Chaucer. Here, animation is put to great service, not just in the rendering of what would be costly in live action film, but also in the narrative assertion that the hypocrisy of the Church is clothed in beautiful visual expressions of faith.
With a gorgeous score by Philip Glass, Xavier Font, and Arturo Vaquero.