Monday, December 31, 2012

Life of Pi

Being a fan of the book, I was excited to see that Ang Lee was going to direct the film adaptation.  "Life of Pi" is a story of faith that raises complex philosophical and religious questions, while challenging the power of storytelling. 

Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, "Life of Pi" is a magical adventure story centering on Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan as an adult and Suraj Sharma for the majority of the film), the curious son of a zoo keeper. He was born a Hindu and worships Hindu gods, but soon he also embraces Jesus, Mary and Mohammed.  Every week, he worships at the Hindu temple, the Catholic church and the Islamic mosque.  He lives with his family in Pondicherry, India, when his father decides decides to move to Canada, hitching a ride on a huge freighter.  One of the better lines in the film comes as his fathers decision to move the family to Canada saying that it will be like Columbus, to which Pi proclaims that Columbus was looking for India.  Unfortunately, their fate takes a turn for the worse when a horrible storm sinks the boat. 

After the shipwreck, Pi finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, all fighting for survival.  It is here that the movie really takes off and is visually one of the best for the year.  While Pi is on the lifeboat the animals that he encounters are all created digitally through CGI.  While the story that is told by Pi is extravagant it doesn't go without merit.  The “truth” is that Pi survived for 227 days at sea, married the girl of his dreams, had children, and lived to tell about it. 
The film and book ask the audience what do you believe without requiring the reconciliation of the differences between faith interpretations (Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam).  Interpretation is subjective but the question is intended to serve as a moment of theological reflection.  Are you a person that prefers to believe in things that always make sense/things that you can see?  Or are you a person that prefers to believe in miracles/take things on faith?  There are no right or wrong answers; just an opportunity for introspection.  I believe that "Life of Pi" is a 5 Quack film and a must read book.  What about you? 

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