Screened as part of NZIFF 2012

The Sun Beaten Path 2011

Tai Yang Zong Zai Zuo Bian

Directed by Sonthar Gyal

A moving, simple tale of a troubled young man’s spiritual pilgrimage and an old man’s determination to rekindle his will to live.

China In Mandarin and Tibetan with English subtitles
86 minutes DigiBeta

Director, Screenplay


Sonthar Gyal
Li Xing
Lu Yuanyuan


Wang Meng


Sonthar Gyal
Qian Lengleng


Dukar Tserang


Yeshe Lhadruk (Nyma)
Lo Kyi (old man)
Kalzang Rinchen (brother)
Lhakyed Ma (mother)
Rekdsen Drolma (sister-in-law)
Yangshou Tso (Nima’s fiancée)
Gonbo (truck driver)
Tandren Kyed (hotel receptionist)


Locarno, Vancouver, London 2011


Dragons & Tigers Award, Vancouver International Film Festival 2011


In this spare, affecting film from Tibet, Nyma, a young man racked with guilt (for reasons that are gradually divulged), makes a penitent pilgrimage to Lhasa. Making his way home, he finds his burden undiminished, and continues to punish himself, making the long journey through desert heat (and below-zero nights) by foot. His steps are dogged by an old man who disrupts his own journey to take care of him and maybe rekindle his will to live. First-time director Sonthar Gyal is an experienced cinematographer and the arid landscapes are rendered with graphic vitality. — BG

“This superb debut feature suggests that the New Tibetan Cinema is upon us… Nyma’s arduous journey through guilt and grief is also, of course, a spiritual journey: a search for understanding about life and death. Sonthar Gyal had a nomadic upbringing before teaching art and studying film. He learned his lessons well, including the life lessons.” — Tony Rayns, London Film Festival