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497 Ratings

Paths of the Soul

Kang rinpoche

Directed by Zhang Yang
China, 2015


The journey on foot of a group of Tibetans on a 1200 km pilgrimage to Lhasa, the holy capital of Tibet. As the Buddhist faith requires, they prostrate themselves every few steps, making their long walk an act of utmost religious devotion.

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Paths of the Soul Directed by Zhang Yang

Critics reviews

Ultimately less interested in any individual drama than in offering a portrait of constant communal work in the service of personal spiritual fulfillment. Viewers acclimatized to the glacial pace of many formally similar films may find themselves wishing the camera lingered a bit longer over some of those (frankly astonishing) mountain panoramas. But after all, the movie, like its subjects, has to keep moving.
May 16, 2016
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Rare in several respects, not least that it is a depiction of Buddhism in Tibet that has passed muster with Chinese censors. It dramatizes a 1,200-mile pilgrimage by the actual residents of the Tibetan village of Nyima. The movie so upends the traditions of documentary and narrative filmmaking that “dramatizes” may be inaccurate… But the movie is so well made and engaging that such distinctions will make little difference to the viewer.
May 12, 2016
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Zhang never makes clear how much time passes during the course of the pilgrimage, and that’s a crucial part of the film’s effect: rendering hours and minutes and days immaterial and simply drawing us into each and every moment. There’s a brief sequence when one member of the group pauses in the midst of prostration to simply watch a bug crawl across the road. It’s evocative of Paths of the Soul itself, where even the most minuscule moments are treated with unadorned reverence.
May 08, 2016
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