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 1,200 mile 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. 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. (Directed and produced by Zhang Yang. 2016. China/Tibet. 117 minutes.)
Introduction and post-screening discussion led by Prof. Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz (Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, University of Illinois).