Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Tuesday, 08 January 2013 10:03

Ang Lee captures the allegorical wonders of 'Life of Pi'

Ang Lee captures the allegorical wonders of 'Life of Pi' lifeofpimovie.com/
Written by Martha K. Baker
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

  • Director: Ang Lee
  • Dates: Through January 2013

Rarely has a book been so finely translated to the screen. By the same token, having not read the book will not alter appreciation for the film. "Life of Pi" is not just the story of a young man who weathers the elements in a lifeboat with a tiger, for, after all, that's unbelievable.

And that's the point: "Life of Pi" is an allegory. It's a story. To emphasize that, the author of the novel, Yann Martel, and the scriptwriter, David Magee, employ many means to remind the audience that this is a story. It's even a story within a story within a story, and, if you don't like those frames, Martel offers an alternate story in the end but keeps the symbols. And no one else could have directed this story as well as Ang Lee, whose fame and fortune are based on his ability to maintain the magic of story. He did that with "Eat Drink Man Woman," with "Pushing Hands," "The Ice Storm," "Ride with the Devil," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Brokeback Mountain."

"Life of Pi" is about a boy named for a swimming pool, a French one at that. His father is a zookeeper in a French part of India who decides to remove to Toronto; en route on a freighter, the family is drowned in a storm, all except for Pi and a few animals on his ark of a lifeboat. Soon, animals being, well, animals, all that's left of the menagerie are Pi and Richard Parker. Richard Parker -- funny story about that name -- is a 450-pound Bengal tiger. He and Pi learn to live with one another for hundreds of days at sea.

Suraj Sharma is wonderful as the teenage Pi. Whereas in the book, Martel could use interior monologue for Pi's thoughts and reactions, Lee lets silence reign alongside Sharma's acting. Sure, some things are lost, such as Martel's metaphor of the tiger's slurping a rat's tail like a spaghetto, but nothing vital. Tabu plays Pi's mother, and Adil Hussain plays his father. The brutish cook is played by Gerard Depardieu, and it's a testament to his acting that, although Depardieu appears only in one major scene, when the cook is alluded to in the alternate story, it's Depardieu's face that returns to the mind's eye.

"Life of Pi" is beautifully shot in 3D, a method that supported filming animals on roiling waters but is not necessary to the look of the film. Sharp scenes, like the albino moon on the water or lightning bolting across a sky, are balanced with ingenious scenes, such as Pi filling the lower left-hand corner reading the survival manual while over the rest of the screen Pi moves about the lifeboat following the manual's direction. And, yes, the meerkats are there in the millions. Lee broadens the film's appeal by deleting the gory parts of this allegory. But he leaves the story intact. "Life of Pi" frames integrity with depth.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


The Mound City Slickers

Mon August 4

The Driftaways

Mon July 28
The Driftaways are a seven-man reggae band hailing from St. Louis. Their E.P. "Don't Hide" is full of high-energy jams and groovy improvisations that give the band's music a good-time vibe. Download their…

KDHX Recommends

August
Thursday
21

August
Friday
22

TOCO Family Festival

TOCO hosts its annual Family Festival at Jellystone Park in Eureka, featuring camping, live music, contests, family activities, art, food, vendors and much more. tocofestival.com


August
Saturday
23

Amelia White with Sergio Webb at Harvest Sessions 2014

Amelia White with Sergio Webb at Harvest Sessions 2014 Nashville, Tennessee-based songwriter Amelia White with guitarist Sergio Webb are this week's featured artists for Harvest Sessions. This free Saturday morning concert series takes place at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market,...


Online Users

0 users and 9832 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook