Paths of the Soul

A journey into humanity and faith

Paths of the Soul is a docu-drama following the journey of a group of Tibetans on a pilgrimage to Lhasa, the holy capital of Tibet. The journey covers 1,200 km on foot, in a continuous repetition of prostrating one’s self on the ground.

The filmmaker, Zhang Yang, blurs the border between documentary and fiction to follow a group of Tibetan villagers who leave their families and homes in the small village of Nyima to make a Buddhist “bowing pilgrimage”-laying their bodies flat on the ground after every few steps-along the road to Lhasa, the holy capital of Tibet.

Though united in their remarkable devotion, each of the travelers embarks on this near impossible journey for very personal reasons. One traveler needs to expunge bad family karma, a butcher wants to cleanse animal bloodstains from his soul, another nearing his life’s end, hopes that the prostrations will break the chain of cause and effect determined by his life’s actions.

Photographed over the course of an entire year, we see the simplicity of human relationships and the nature of family, suffering, and resolve. The documentary film is a mesmerizing study of faith that could perhaps inspire viewers to reflect on their own journey through life.

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Paths of the Soul
  • Info
  • Release date2015
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Yang Zhang