A Map for Saturday
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Attending a film festival can be a grueling experience for those who try to squeeze as many movies as possible into a short amount of time. Watching four movies a day definitely isn’t for the weak of heart. But when you sit through a movie like A Map for Saturday, it makes all the aching legs and tired, bloodshot eyes feel worthwhile.

A Map for Saturday documents filmmaker Brook Silva-Braga’s yearlong backpacking adventure. A young TV producer in New York, Brook explains that he woke up one morning in 2004 and realized that he’d soon be expected to grow up—to get married and start a family and do the 9-to-5 thing. But before he could even think of settling down, he decided that he needed to get out there and see the world—so he left his cushy job with HBO, packed up his Manhattan apartment, and boarded a plane for…anywhere. In 2005, Brook visited 26 countries in 341 days, traveling solo, with nothing but a couple of backpacks and a video camera—and the result is an entertaining and inspiring film that will leave viewers with a serious case of wanderlust.

In the film, Brook documents the highs and lows of the backpacker’s life—both his own experiences and those of the other backpackers whom he interviews along the way. He shares the emotional roller coaster of meeting new friends and saying good-bye within a day or two. He discusses the five questions that backpackers inevitably ask each other upon meeting (like “Where are you from?” and “Where are you going?” and “How long will you be traveling?”). He tells about the things he saw and how they changed him. And he shows how, in the beginning, backpackers fear the time on their own—and how, by the end, they mostly just fear going back home.

Along the way, viewers get to vicariously experience hostel life. They get to spend the summer in Australia. They learn a little bit about the political situation in Nepal. They travel to India and Laos and Brazil. They see the results of the tsunami in Thailand—and hear how the backpackers helped out when the Thai government wouldn’t.

A Map for Saturday does a spectacular job of capturing the emotions of the backpacking experience. It was brilliantly filmed and edited to tell a story that’s both moving and enjoyable to watch. And Brook is the perfect tour guide. He’s open and honest, and he’s just a fun guy. In fact, he’s exactly the kind of guy that you’d want to travel around the world with. He’s cool and laid-back, yet he’s adventurous and completely entertaining.

If you love to travel, A Map for Saturday will remind you of your adventures—and make you want to pack your bags and head out again. And if you’ve always dreamed of seeing the world, this film is a great place to start.

Ed. Note: For more information on Brook Silva-Braga’s A Map for Saturday, visit AMapForSaturday.com.

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