Life of Pi
Spring 2013 Features series
Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 8:00pm
Directed by Ang Lee
Screenplay by David Magee
Based on the book by Yann Martel
Starring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, and Adil Hussain
Rated PG ·
Life of Pi
Based on the best-selling and Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Yann Martel, scripted by David Magee (Finding Neverland) and directed by Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon),Life of Pi is a magical adventure story centring on Pi Patel (portrayed at various ages by Gautam Belur, Ayush Tandon, Suraj Sharma and Irrfan Khan), the precocious son of a zookeeper. Shot on location in India as well as in a giant tank in Taiwan where the open-water effects scenes were made, Life of Pi is an unusual example of anything-is-possible technology put at the service of a humanistic and intimate story.
We first meet Pi in his hometown of Pondicherry, a former French colony in southern India that looks like paradise on Earth. When he is 12 years old, hard times prompt his father to announce a move to Canada, where he will sell all the animals. After a nocturnal storm and horrible shipwreck, the only survivors sharing space on a 27-foot lifeboat are Pi, an injured zebra, a maniacal hyena, a dour orangutan, a rat and—hidden from sight for a spell under a tarp—a large Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Hunger and the law of the jungle assure that the population onboard is shortly reduced to two. Pi, however, manages to build a makeshift raft that connects to the tiger’s lair by a rope.
Still, 227 days is a very long time to keep fed and maintain your wits on the open sea for both man and beast, and this floating journey is marked by ordeal (this must be the first film to present the spectacle of a seasick tiger) and such startling sights as a sudden flurry of flying fish, luminous jellyfish setting the nighttime sea aglow, a breaching whale and another enormous storm that looks to spell the end for Pi and Richard Parker.
“A decade ago, a Life of Pi movie could not have been imagined, let alone realized—unless Lee had employed a severely sedated tiger, or summoned an endless supply of lookalike actors to play Pi and replace the ones whom a more energetic beast would have clawed or devoured. Now, thanks to advances in technique and a new generation of artist-tinkerers, it can be done. The cinematography of Claudio Miranda (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) has the pellucid immediacy of a fever dream. We see dire and divine events unfold through Pi’s troubled spirit and, at times, through the eye of the tiger. Life of Pi is a giant leap forward, outward and upward in expanding the resources of the evolving medium of movies. Magical realism was rarely so magical and never before so real.” (Richard Corliss, Time)
”While its journey to the big screen saw many directors come and go over the years, and even leaving more wondering if the book could even be faithfully told, Ang Lee has delivered and then some. Deeply resonant and soulful, Life Of Pi, is a harrowing journey of survival, self-discovery and connection that both inspires and awes in equal measure.” (Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist)