Facets Cinémathèque

Archives +

June 3–9, 2016

Paths of the Soul
(Kang rinpoche)

Buy tickets
Film still: Paths of the Soul Film still: Paths of the Soul
"A fantastic and refreshingly benevolent look at a different culture"
"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"
  —New York Times
"The film forgoes a musical score, allowing the recurring sound of those small connecting wooden planks to become peacefully trance-inducing, its rhythms soothing to the soul"
  —Slant Magazine
Critics' Pick "The film is restful and exhausting, inviting us into contemplation"
  —Village Voice
"Extraordinary... a stirring study in faith and spirituality"
  —Chicago Tribune

A group of Tibetans of all ages and from different families join together to make a pilgrimage from their home village to Lhasa, a treacherous 2,000-kilometer trek at high elevations. Each makes the spiritual journey for their own reasons. One man, now elderly, may never have another opportunity, and a younger man seeks to change his fate. Over the course of an arduous journey that requires prostration after every few steps, they encounter many obstacles, a broken tractor, snow, exhaustion, sickness, a birth, but the ordeal never breaks their communal resolve.

Making a fictionalized portrayal of an actual event, Zhang chose to shoot Paths of the Soul in documentary style, over the course of an entire year, with non-professional actors and no script. The result is a film with a mesmerizing rhythm like no other, a rhythm that envelops us even as it bears witness to these very real actions of astonishing dedication on the winding roads of Tibet.

Directed by Zhang Yang, 2015, China. 115 mins. In Tibetan with English subtitles.


  • Fri., June 3 at 7 & 9:15 pm
  • Sat.–Sun., June 4–5 at 5:30 & 7:45 pm
  • Mon.–Wed., June 6–8 at 7 & 9:15 pm
  • Thurs., June 9 at 9:15 pm
Buy tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation