Into Film Project: 13 – Life of Pi (sort of…)

Today is the beginning of Interfaith Week and I therefore sat down to watch Life of Pi as suggested by my wall calendar. Unfortunately it failed to stream properly and I have had to give up after half an hour. However, from that half an hour, the film looked more promising than some of the opinion I have heard about it being a bit of a boring and pointless film.

From the opening it seems to be a man describing his life to another man – I didn’t manage to figure out the relationship between them, but upon reading the synopsis of the scenes I watched, the other man is actually the author, Yann Martel. I don’t believe this is the angle of the book (a work I have not yet read) but it is an incredibly clever device to put into the film, and makes me want to read the book more, as it suggests it will be written in the first person. Pi’s name is also explored in a fantastic way and the whole idea of his name and the shortening and how he gains kudos in his school is excellent.

What made me want to keep watching past the first ad break was actually the religious perspective, which is not surprising for a film related to Interfaith Week. One of Yann’s first comments was “He said you had a story that would make me believe in God”. Of course I did not get to watch the whole story, but that line is very intriguing. The next question is which god does it lead to belief in, because we soon find out that Pi follows 3 religions, at least in his early life. The scene I enjoyed the most was where he enters the church for a bet and instead becomes fascinated with Christianity. The priest’s simple response about God loving us when Pi asks about the crucifixion is just the Christian faith in one sentence. God loves us.

A promising film that I hope to revisit, Life of Pi looks at religion and survival in a visual manner with an engaging narrator. Three stars.

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