Tiger of Bengal… When I heard that a film is released with a tiger holding the leading role and that the script is based on a novel by Yann Martel, I run into bookstores and cinemas.
Because, just like Pi, the hero of the book and the movie, who may become the protagonist of the 2013 Oscars, I have a special dote, interest, love, passion, psychosis, fad, problem (it depends on one’s perspective) as far as both animals and books are concerned… That is to say, the primal reason for me to watch the movie and read the book, was the leading role of Richard Parker – the tiger has a full name- in the story. The rest of the information –writer, director, protagonists, film genre etc. – was of secondary importance… I read them in detail, after I decided that my next article would be on the life of Pi, I watched the movie and read the book- in that inconsistency…
I imagine that of pivotal concern for the cinephilles that have watched or will watch the film, was/is the expectation of a pleasant cinematic two hours’ time… corollary of the admiration and the fame that comes with the director, Ang Lee. And for truth’s sake, after my primary excitement had fizzled out, and I focused on the name of the director, I felt an instant relief that I would not be spending my money inexcusably. It took over a decade for the movie to be released (The copyrights of the book were bought by Fox 2000 Pictures, in February 2003) and a number of directors and screenwriters who abandoned the creation of the film- since the story of the book was deemed too difficult to be turned into a film. Wise concern and reaction, since the writer, Yan Martel, narrates in the longest part of the book the adventurous cohabitation of a teenager and a tiger in a raft for 227 days in the middle of the ocean.
I don’t know if it’s possible but I will try to express my personal view without revealing any spoilers… so it's perhaps better for anyone who wishes to watch the film totally clueless, to not continue reading… Firstly I expected to see something among “Hobbit: An unexpected journey” (2012) as far as Pi’s advanced technology is concerned –you can see it in 3D also, I watched it in its traditional form- and films that feature the rare and remarkable relations of mankind and wild animals such as the “Born Free” (1966), “Two Brothers” (Deux Frères) (2004), “Christian the Lion” (2006)… in which the main protagonists are real tigers and lion (notably, at least “Christian the Lion” is based in a real story, and yes there are these few cases, where the bloodthirsty, terrifying but so beautiful animals have developed close emotional bonds with people, without…eating them). I was confirmed only in the first part of my theory, the magic of the visual effects. As far as the second part of my hypothesis is concerned, the film does not focus on the relation of man-animal, aside from the fact that Pi is deeply animal friendly and vegetarian. The movie emphasizes the unique and unexpected dimensions of Pi’s love and faith towards God, since he has embraced simultaneously Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. And to the turnarounds of these feelings and human values, when he comes up against the relentless force of the struggle of existence.
“Life of Pi” is a fictional story, and when it was transferred onto the Big Screen, it was accredited as an exciting and emotional fairytale for people of every age with celluloid stills that touch dreaming conditions and are impressed upon one's mind for days. And like every fairytale that refers to religion matters, in the end its allegorical character is exposed, and it depends on one's age, conception, temper, etc., to embrace the sort of story that he/she prefers. Needless to say, because I am a dreamer, I chose the magical version of the story, the unrealistic one. A logical fact for me, illogical maybe for everyone else, since from the beginning of the film my primary concern was the fate of the tiger in the story. I was sure enough that I will leave the movie theatre in tears because of her demise. In the end, I left the theatre, unreasonably disappointed due to the understandable fact that Richard Parker is nothing more than a digital masterpiece… I know that I become paranoid sometimes…
- The book “Life of Pi” won the Man Booker Prize in 2002
- The film won four Oscars and a Golden Globe.