Pilgrim will be a short film that recounts a night in the life of "Peace Pilgrim," a woman who walked for twenty-eight years throughout North America, carrying only a map, a toothbrush, and a pen. She vowed to walk penniless until mankind learned peace, and described her journey as a prayer for peace; she would walk until given shelter and fast until given food, sharing her peace message with those curious enough to inquire about the words on her tunic. During her pilgrimage (1953-1981), she was invited to speak at numerous universities and churches.
In the beginning of her pilgrimage, in 1953, Peace came upon a car stopped on the side of the road while she walked through the desert on California's old Highway 99. A man inside the car invited her in. She refused, as at this point in her pilgrimage she walked only on foot and did not accept rides. He insisted that he wasn't going anywhere, and that she could warm up in his car. Peace got in the car with the man, and after his urging that she should rest, fell asleep. When she awoke, the man looked very puzzled, and after speaking with him for a long while, he admitted to her that he had meant to harm her, but that after the unabashed trust she displayed towards him in falling asleep in his presence, he was unable to act on his sinister designs. Peace relayed this story in Salt Lake City in 1955 (@ 08:25).
Pilgrim will be a dramatization of this exchange. What intrigues me about this story is that it is an account of an individual choosing compassion over violence. Cinema has a tradition of documenting violence in gory kaleidoscope detail-- which has been valuable in revealing and meditating on the human capacity for darkness, however, narratives of compassion are still meager in comparison to those of violence, and deserve more attention.