paths of the soul

yang zhang/china/115MINS


An astonishing journey of redemption, faith, and devotion. Internationally acclaimed lmmaker Zhang Yang (Shower, Getting Home) blurs the border between documentary and ction 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 at on the ground after every few steps — along the thousand miles 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 ani- mal 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. Stunningly photographed over the course of an entire year, with non-professional actors and no script, PATHS OF THE SOUL is a mesmerizing study of faith that will inspire viewers to reflect on their own journey through life. 


Yang Pei         Nyima Zadui       Tsewang Dolkar     Tsring Chodron Seba Jiangcuo
Script : Zhang Yang
DoP: Guo Daming
Editor: Wei Le
Sound: Zhao Nan, Yang Jiang
Producer: Zhang Yang
Executive Producer: Li Li, Zhang Zhao, Gao Fei, Yu Rongcai

Director Statement

This film by shooting the paths and the journey of this pilgrimage tries to look for the energy given by beliefs. It also allows us, non-believers, to think about our own spiritual lives. It remembers us to never loose ourselves. And on the road we started to look for ourselves, for our convictions.

We shot this film at 4,000 meters altitude and above. We were eating and sleeping on the road. We worked literally on the road. We had to live within extreme conditions, and these for us were more complicated than actually doing the film. Because this became our lives.

At the same time this film allowed me to find new cinematographic possibilities. It was a new research and discovery of film language. I shot this fiction in a documentary style. There was no script. The actors are non-professionals. Everything was unknown. It was a real challenge but also a surprise and a true joy. It’s a fresh start. I rediscovered cinema. 



Director's Bio

Zhang Yang is a Chinese film director, screenwriter, and occasional actor. He studied Chinese literature in Beijing, where he later moved to the Central Academy of Drama from where he graduated in 1992.

His works, including romantic drama, road movie comedy or powerful drama, achieved great recognition internationally as well as in China, where it was successfully distributed.

Director's filmography

PATHS OF THE SOUL (Kang Rinpoche) 2015, feature, 115 minutes

FULL CIRCLE (Feiyue laorenyuan) 2012, feature, 104 minutes

DRIVERLESS (Wuren jiashi) 2010, feature, 105 minutes

GETTING HOME (Luoye guigen) 2007, feature, 110 minutes

SUNFLOWER (Xiangrikui) 2005, feature, 129 minutes

QUITTING (Zuotian)
2001, feature, 112 minutes

SHOWER (Xizao)
1999, feature, 92 minutes

SPICY LOVE SOUP (Aiqing malatang) 1997, feature, 109 minutes