Whereas the label of «pilgrim» is still mostly associated with devout persons leaving home for purely religious motives, young people taking to the road as «backpackers» are generally perceived as pleasure seeking globetrotters. Questioning these stereotypes, anthropologist and filmmaker Tommi Mendel followed one young woman along the Way of St. James through France and Spain and another one along backpacking-routes through Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Documenting their experiences and encounters over a period of three years, this film reveals intriguing parallels on various levels between what at first glance appear as two different ways of travelling. Common Roads is Tommi Mendel’s PhD-thesis accepted by the University of Zurich. It was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Director, camera, script, edit: Tommi Mendel
Production: Tigertoda productions
Language of dialogues: Swiss, German, English, Spanish, French
Language of dialogues: English, Czech
Tommi was born 1970 in Lucerne, Switzerland. He studied Social and Cultural Anthropology, Religious Studies and History at the University of Zurich with the focus on Visual Anthropology.
His MA-thesis is the ethnographic documentary film Arukihenro- walking pilgrims(2006), his PhD-thesis the ethnographic documentary filmCommon Roads (2013).
His ethnographic documentary Bunong´s Birth Practices between Tradition and Change (2010) won several prizes at international film festivals and was also screened at Antropofest in 2011
Tommi is a board member of the Audio-visual Commission of the Swiss Ethnological Society and an independent filmmaker.
International Anthropological Filmfestival Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ethnographic Filmfestival Kratovo, Macedonia
Intimate Lens - Festival of Visual Anthropology, Caserta, Italy
Days of Ethnographic Film, Ljublana, Slovenia
NAFA International Ethnographic Film Festival, Isafjordur, Island
European Association of Social Anthropologists, Conference and Festival, Tallin, Estonia