The Sun Beaten Path

English, Chinese and Czech subtitles

Cinema Aero Monday 3rd of April 20:30

This debut feature from the cinematographer of Pema Tseden’s films, as well as Embrace (also screening in this series), presents the story of a young man making a pilgrimage to Lhasa to overcome the guilt of causing a family member’s death. This film belongs to informal irregular festival section in which we introduce authors from eastern Tibet.

Nima’s grief and his journey are the result of his role in the tragic, accidental death of his mother (Lhakyed Ma). Though Nima’s family and neighbours do not blame him for their loved one’s death, Nima cannot forgive himself and remains in a detached, barley living state, even after his pilgrimage is complete. On the road he is joined by a life-worn old man (Lo Kyi), who takes it upon himself to ensure that Nima does not remain a lost soul in the wilderness.

The old man battles persistently against Nima’s withdrawal from the world and though the connection between the two seems one-sided, the characters’ moments of verbal and physical interaction more than earn their weight within the story. As one might expect, this is an old man filled with stories and fables, and it is these short nuggets of wisdom that are key to unmasking the wider theme of enlightenment and the patience that it has for those willing to embrace life.
“The Sun Beaten Path” won the Dragons & Tigers award at the 2011 Vancouver International Film Festival and is very much worth your time. It is a rare example of a film that is bleak without being depressing.