Friday, January 18, 2013

Oscar Contender Life Of Pi

An Indian boy played by Suraj Sharma survives a ship sinking, only to discover he shares the lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, not to mention the almighty sea. This is a parable of life. We are all stuck in the same boat with the forces of nature and the ultimate force. The film also helps computers to maximize their spiritual potential. No digital image has ever embodied the beauty and savagery of nature like this tiger. No blue expanse has ever exceeded the vastness and omnipotence of this ocean. Your eyes will surely thank you for seeing Life of Pi.

The movie introduces itself as a story that will make you believe in God. This is overstated. Oprah fans will buy its contention that faith offers a prettier window on life than cold reason. I do too. Yet, not everyone believes just because it's comforting to do so. Remember Delta bluesman Robert Johnson hearing hell hounds on his trail or Aussie bluesman Angus Young hearing hell's bells? That kind of faith is uncool. The fear of God may be "the beginning of wisdom," but it no longer qualifies as "inspirational literature".

Our hero Pi vacillates between the mystic and scientific views of life. His very name derives from his water-revering uncle and his zookeeping father, from those who see an ocean in the stars (pisces) and those who see an equation in a planet (circumference = diameter x pi). His close encounter of the tiger kind subordinates all such theories to immediate reality.

For our vegetarian sailor, hunting meat for the tiger is uncomfortable. Yet, being meat for the tiger sounds more uncomfortable. So, he embraces the reality that carnivorous predators fill a holy spot in the grand scheme. Still, he never takes the next step to recognize nature's sovereignty in equipping us humans with omnivore teeth. (We have whole grain, fruit and veggie grinders in the back and lean meat incisors in the front.)

People have a long history of ignorantly or stubbornly rejecting the truth of our role in the cosmos. Europeans clung to their ideology that the earth must be the center of nature's blueprint despite Galileo's telescopic vision. Native Americans acknowledged no eco-limits to the sacred hunt till after the horse was extinct in its homeland. Horses that crossed the Bering Strait then circled the globe with warriors and returned with Hernan Cortez to conquer the very peoples who wiped out their kin. Today, vegetarian Asians espouse love for nature while ignoring its handiwork in their dentalwork.

Whether we prefer the myths of a conservative western pope or the myths of a liberal eastern guru, nature doesn't dance to tunes devised by men. Nor will it likely pay heed to the decision of the lofty film academy. What's the message in this movie based on the Booker-Prize-winning novel by Yann Martel? We're all in the same small boat by the grace of the same infinite sea. Deal with it.


  1. I'll have to see this movie. I've heard a lot of good things about it.

  2. Jorge Incháurregui Torres
    This movie I like, not only by the landscapes full of life and color, if not for the wonderful message of the desire to live and fight for it.