Wednesday, November 21, 2012
LIFE OF PI
Ang Lee's LIFE OF PI, which was the Opening Night selection for the 50th Anniversary New York Film Festival (NYFF 50) contains a great action/fantasy philosophical film, the story of a young man and a tiger adrift at sea alone, together on a lifeboat.
NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2012
For the story of the boy and the tiger, this film is entertaining... indeed, amazing and worth seeing.
As a film, however, there is a problem...Ang Lee puts LIFE OF PI's central story, this great action/fantasy philosophical film, inside a frame that diminishes the brilliance of the conceit by saying too much and saying it unconvincingly.
The frame sets the story in a spiritual patina that does not ring true either as philosophy or as character, then goes on to further weaken the story by undermining the suspension of disbelief that gives every story its essential truth, without replacing it with a higher truth. (The spirituality may work well and be an essential part of the best-selling book LIFE OF PI, by Yann Martel, from which the film derives, but it does not, IMHO, work in this film as it was done.)
Alas! That's too bad. Because the inside, the story of the tiger and the man on the boat, is brilliantly conceived, brilliantly told, and brilliantly executed.
The film is beautifully shot in a "gentle" 3D that enhances the image without calling attention to itself. It simply makes everything seem just a little more real.
The Indian actor (Suraj Sharma, in his only film role) who plays Pi (the name is explained near the beginning of the film) is terrific. The (real!) tigers that play The Tiger are terrific (as are the digital effects that also contribute to The Tiger). The story of how the film was put together would be a great addition to the Blu-Ray disc or the Official Website.
Director LIFE OF PI
Talking with the press
On the plaza outside Walter Reade Theater
At Lincoln Center
Photo By Eric Roffman
Ang Lee, the director has had quite an interesting career. His films range from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, to Brokeback Mountain (for which he won the Oscar for Best Director), to Sense and Sensibility. Eat Drink Man Woman was perhaps the first film that brought him to the attention of the American critics.
He was born in Taiwan about 58 years ago and went to college there, and then studied theater and film at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and NYU.
This is a film I can highly recommend! Just (don't take the beginning too seriously, ignore the end, and) enjoy the middle!
FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
LIFE OF PI - OFFICIAL FILM SITE
LIFE OF PI - THE FILM - WIKIPEDIA
LIFE OF PI - THE BOOK - WIKIPEDIA
ANG LEE - WIKIPEDIA
ANG LEE - IMDB