A Movie Called Life

Life of Pi is a fantastically crafted Indian film that brings realization or maybe divine intervention. Apart from the stunning 3D visual effects—including CGI–this film not only absorbs you. It liberates you to spiritual triumph.

For the majority of movie goers, this is a film about life. As Roger Ebert puts it, “the title could have been shortened to LIFE.”

When the film begins with Pi, as a child, trying to understand the gods in the world, you can already sense that there is something special about the film.

Pi, being a Hindu, the introduction of Jesus Christ and Allah to him who believes in many different gods as superheroes makes you think why people have different gods? It reminds you of something that you would have thought about it but never try to reflect about it.

Life of Pi makes all religions attain one goal, which is to understand the purpose of life. What all people with different kinds of religion have in common. How we understand conscience and moral soundness.

What astonished me more is apart from the lesson the movie wants to convey, it successfully show scenes to the audience how magical the world is. The underwater shots didn’t intend to show what life under the sea is, but how magnificent life is over it and beyond it.


underwater shot in movie Life of Pi

What seems to be a a family movie at start turned out to be a fantasy adventure all throughout.

The movie is about an Indian boy (Suraj Sharma) named Pi, named after a swimming pool in France called Piscine Molitor due to an adoration of Francis—Pi’s uncle—to swimming pools. Struggling to explain his nickname Pi to his classmates he came up with the mathematical symbole π to avoid the mockery being called as “pee” or “pissing”. He explained to the class the irrational number 3.14, a seemingly endless length that also shows his limitless capacities in the movie.

Being curious as a child, Pi convinces to believe that the relationship of God’s creature needs not to be taught. He has a heart so soft that even a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker becomes a tame creature for him.  But his father teaches him that animals are animals. They’re not humans. A Bengal Tiger is a wild one and will eat anyone that come near him.

This changed when his father who owns a zoo decided to move his family to Canada along with the animals.  The perception of life he used to once have changed, leaving his girl, without saying goodbye.

A new chapter of his life begins with a shipwreck, losing all his family, never to be seen.  Pi, able to be thrown to a lifeboat amidst the raging storm struggling for survival with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, and the Bengal Tiger.

His 227 days in the sea are spent with Richard Parker. He avoids the tiger at first, but takes out the beast in him as together they stand for survival.

He is able to build a relationship with Richard Parker.  He leaves with no choice. He has to feed the tiger to prevent it from eating him and die.

Stunning shot from Life of Pi movie
Stunning shot from Life of Pi movie

He has water and biscuits along with a survival kit. But Richard Parker eats 5 kilos of meat in a day in the zoo.

He looks for ways. He studies the survival kit. He convinces Parker to see him not as a prey anymore but another creature struggling for survival. Richard Parker keeps Pi alive. And so he catches fish at the middle of the ocean and feeds it.

What the story brings is the concept of human understanding of relationship of himself to God’s creation, the sea, the tiger, the sea creatures under worst circumstances.

The movie gives faith more meaning,  regardless of religion. As Pi tells, “Doubt is useful, it keeps faith a living thing. After all, you cannot know the strength of your faith until it is tested.”

The story of life of Pi gives whole meaning of life. The faith that seems to be an irritating word for humans now becomes a living thing. The movie keeps you away from doubts. Had it not been for God, Pi wouldn’t have survived.

Sunning shots in Life of Pi

The island, which according to Pi’s story, is made of human anatomy, gives you doubt whether it is real or not. It seems like a fantasy. As a viewer you don’t have to even think about it.  It is real. It gives the full message of the film.

It reminds me of Carl Sagan’s movie Contact, where Dr. Eleanor Arroway (Jodie Foster) tells his experience in outer space. The story is unexplainable and implausible because it is real. It defies all rationalities in the world because it is transcendental. It is real.

As how we see trees, ocean, the sky, the stars, the sun, the entire universe and us. They’re all real. Without having to think about science and logic, it is real. It is where God lies. God is real.

The movie not only tells the life of Pi as being told by him but as what we the audience react to human condition, circumstances that is way beyond our comprehension.

There’s always a story behind the story. The novelist and the director are able to achieve the exact attachment they want for the audience, as though they’re sharing one thought. It is a victory to novelist Yann Martel and director Ang Lee.

Two genius minds that can hold a child’s breath. It will make an adult a child again. A magical Indian story since Slumdog Millionaire.

Life of Pi is perfect. It is  divine.


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