When Pi Patel’s father sells the family zoo in India to emigrate to Canada, they cross the Pacific in a freighter with some of the menagerie on board.
A fierce storm wrecks the ship, and Pi finds himself the only survivor, adrift in a lifeboat with four of the animals. Soon, there’s just one left: a huge Bengal tiger. The young man rapidly retreats to the safety of a raft tied to the lifeboat, but begins to realise that he and the tiger need to reach some accommodation if either of them is to survive their extraordinary journey.
As a boy in Pondicherry, Pi encountered Christianity and Islam, and decided to embrace them both while remaining a Hindu, to the consternation of his rationalist father. Pi is sincere in wanting to love God, and it is this that sustains him through his ordeal.
Director Ang Lee has achieved what many thought impossible in bringing Yann Martel’s Booker Prize-winning novel to the big screen. Life of Pi is a poetic, beautifully filmed, magical realist fable, with breathtaking visual effects and a spellbinding performance by newcomer Suraj Sharma as Pi. Unsurprisingly, it’s been nominated for nine BAFTAs and 11 Oscars, and Christianity Today listed it as one of the ten most redeeming films of 2012.
This is a powerful, thought-provoking story about story-telling itself, as well as about hope, the nature of truth, and religion. It explores these themes in a way that encourages viewers to grapple with the questions, rather than lecturing us. This is a film that will live long in the mind, and stimulate many great conversations.
Damaris have produced a range of free resources to help stimulate useful conversations around the film. They can be found at http://www.damaris.org/lifeofpi