Life of Pi
This was my introduction to Ang Lee, more than Brokeback Mountain was. Probably because I wasn’t aware of Ang Lee while watching Brokeback Mountain. I found him to be a very gentle film maker. He takes you in his palms and for the rest of the movie, looks after you.
As such his gentleness and the beauty of the images he creates is something to be enjoyed. Even if the images don’t last with you for more than a day. But in the moment they are presented to you, they create tranquility. It was the same with his imagery of rural America.
What I missed was the complexity. To some extent, Brokeback Mountain, considering the subject matter of gay cowboys gave me that. But here, in spite of the book claiming to be spiritual, there was little to ponder over. The overtly simplistic narrative, with a punch line (that I incidentally didn’t get, a few friends had to explain at length) left me desiring for me. After all IMAX films on earth, sea and sky are quite spiritual too.
I always wonder, after seeing potrayals of India in foreign films, why Indians fail to get it right every single time. It is a beautiful 1970’s Pondicherry that we get to see here. With characters so real, that seem as if they are from one’s own memories. Tabu, is so wasted in Bolly/Tolly/Kolly woods. She shines, holds the camera and the screen, and plays. Irffan Khan in a strange role, is strange. He looks strange, speaks strangely and is in general strange. One of the best performances for me in the entire movie was by the two Japanese officials inspecting the cause of ship wreck. So apt.
I imagine Ang Lee to have been so exhausted with creating the magnificience on screen that he didn’t quite play with the content matter whatsoever. Instead relying entirely on the screenplay. And here, it probably falls short of greatness. Because the content seems old and classic like a Richard Bach book.
None of the photos are mine.