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PATHS OF THE SOUL follows a group of Tibetan villagers who leave their families and homes to make a “bowing pilgrimage” — laying their bodies flat on the ground after every few steps — along the 2,000-kilometre road to Lhasa. Though equally devoted to the trip, they all have different reasons: one traveller needs to cleanse bad family karma; another, a butcher, wants to wash the animals’ bloodstains from his soul; and another pilgrim, sensing the end is near, hopes that prayers and prostrations will break the chain of cause and effect determined by his life’s actions. During their months on the road, a baby is born, they meet fellow travellers, and their resolve is put to the test by harsh snowstorms and physical fatigue. But no hardship can deter them from their ultimate goal — not even the threat of death, a very real danger in this high altitude where a common cold can take one’s life.