Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

The Longest Way 1.0 — One Year Walk–Beard Grow Time Lapse

On our 2008 list, the No. 1 video was "Where the Hell Is Matt?," a travelogue of Matt Harding dancing a jig with people around the world. Its charm is almost guaranteed to bring a tear of joy to any viewer who has traveled, or danced. Or danced while traveling. Which Matt did. A lot.

Christoph Rehage doesn't dance. He walks.

Rehage set out on his 26th birthday, in November 2007, to walk all the way from China to Germany. He also decided not to cut his hair or shave his chin. Starting off as shiny as Mr. Clean, he took daily photos of himself — at arm's length — to show the progress toward a furry head and face.

Rehage quit walking after 11½ months (and 4,646 km) and decided to go back to school. At home, he cut together a time-lapse video of his self-portraits, and it quickly caught on. What starts out with a melancholy title sequence, setting up an archetypal young man's spiritual quest through travel, kicks into gear at 45 seconds when the flip book of shots begins and his beard starts to grow. But it's more than just a shot-a-day look at his face; what's happening in the scenes around him makes this special. In less than three minutes, we get a unique traveler's tale — the joy, anguish, exhaustion and even heartbreak of a young man walking, very much alive.