About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

06 January 2013

Movie: Life of Pi

I read the book about 5 years ago (a welcome distraction from writing my thesis); and thoroughly enjoyed it. While I don't remember all the details, the story was memorable and was therefore really looking forward to the Ang Lee's movie adaptation. I found it quite true to the book, capturing Pi's adventure in the lifeboat brilliantly; and the narrative of an older Pi telling the story to a struggling writer worked very well.

It is a beautiful movie; with some stunning cinematography of the open sea. It also manages to capture the post colonial India quite well; with the contrasts of the various cultures that meld together. And the acting was equally impressive; and thus it does set the movie up for at least a good share of award nominations.

Probably the biggest discussion point of the movie (and I don't recall this being in the book), is the claim made by Pi's uncle to the author, that Pi "had a story that would make me believe in God". The movie is not a religious experience which leads one to become a devotee to one of the many Gods explored in the movie (Pi himself professes to follow Hinduism, Christianity and Islam). And there is at least one movie review that criticises the movie for not delivering such a religious experience.

I think the argument posed by the filmmaker is completely different. In fact the argument is not even on whether God exists, but whether one should believe in the concept of God.  In the filmmaker's vision, it is an argument between a rational but cold facts; and a fantastical and irrational story. Those are the two stories that the Life of Pi presents. With the presentation of those contrasting visions, the version that is preferred by all is the fantastical, irrational one. My opinion on the outcome is, that the filmmaker was merely explaining why there is a belief in God; because it is so much easier to accept the fantastical and irrational story instead of the cold rational story.

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