The way I see Pi-A A +A
Saturday, January 19, 2013
IT WAS a Friday night and my cousin and I decided to watch Life of Pi. We had intended to watch it much earlier than we actually did but the thing is, the tickets have been sold out so we opted to wait for whatever seats were available for the next screening time.
So there we were, my cousin seated on the second row and I bravely seated in the first row. I was almost sure that I would get a migraine headache or have a seizure the way the lights were flashing too brightly before me! Nevertheless, we were glad that we finally got to see it before we watch Les Miserables the next day.
I really had no expectations. People were saying it was good but I personally have passed up reading the book so many times that I felt more compelled to redeem myself for snubbing the book by watching it.
And I don't regret having gone to see the movie. The Life of Pi had me right from the start. The opening credits, I found really enthralling. It played with my natural interest in the mystical, the way the animals were filmed as if they have been personally choreographed by the director to move the way that they did. I remember press releases about the movie saying that Ang Lee had made possible what everyone thought was an impossible movie to do, and the point, to me, was proven even before the story unfolded in my eyes. Genius.
The first few minutes of the movie deals with the issue of faith and religion, man's quest for his faith and the question of choice and how one goes about choosing the faith that fits him perfectly. I am amazed at how simply the movie makes a statement that everyone should have the freedom to choose what faith to adhere to and that one should not be questioned about the choices made in search for what fits him best.
It also underscores the importance of analyzing and reflecting about life's important issues, as opposed to just blindly accepting what is presented to you as the "right" thing to do. It is indeed often the road less travelled but I bet those who bravely tread this path end up happier and more content in life most of the time.
Whew. A lot of issues to deal with in the first few minutes of the film! I sat there mentally kicking myself for not buying the book. Oh well, you make good and bad choices in life. The good thing about this though is that we learn from it eventually.
So the story is about a young man who loses his family in a storm, survives being shipwrecked for more than two hundred days with a tiger. In a boat. In the middle of the ocean. The boat drifts into a mystical island inhabited by meerkats. The island nurtures both Pi and Robert Parker (the tiger) but at night, it becomes a carnivorous island preying on whoever fails to retreat to higher ground. They eventually leave the island until they find the inhabited island where Pi is rescued by the townsfolk and abandoned by Robert Parker.
Investigators soon find him and as he narrates his mystical journey with the tiger and how he lost the zebra, orangutan and the hyena along the way, they refuse to believe him and prod him to tell the truth about what really transpired in the boat during those 200 plus days.
Basically, what Pi narrates is the fact that he was actually in the boat with the mean cook, the nice Buddhist sailor, his mother and well, the tiger. They all eventually die, except for him and the tiger. At this point in time, I find myself awashed in amazement. The symbolism simply left my head spinning that I was again, mentally kicking myself for probably not paying closer attention to the story. Or was I? Hmmm. (Oh, I'm not filling you in on all the details. I hope. You need to watch it.).
As the movie was about to wrap up, I found myself panicking that I had missed out on some of the implied messages during the movie. I was rewinding key scenes in my head trying to figure out what I may have missed. Maybe I've become a bit rusty about detecting these story undercurrents that pop up to surprise everyone in the end! Argh.
Just before the movie was about to end, the scene where Robert Parker (yes, the tiger) was about to abandon Pi is flashed again on the screen. In a preceding scene, Pi narrates how he was heartbroken about the tiger disappearing forever from his life without so much as a last glance. This time, the face of the young Pi flashes before Robert Parker as he starts to walk out of Pi's life forever.
The end. Roll credits.
Whaaaat?? What did I not get? I sat there dumbfounded. Even as I started to walk out of the theater I was thinking: what did I miss? I sat outside the theater collecting my thoughts to see if I could make sense out of my seemingly fragmented thoughts about the movie. Am I the only one wondering? As I watched the people empty into the lobby, I saw the same quizzed out facial expression over and over. And then I overheard someone say, what the heck was that?
I sighed a relief realizing that I was not alone in my predicament.
Well, what was it really? Did you get what the story was about? I asked myself.
So here goes.
The way I see Pi's story, it is all about how a human being lives his life from the moment he is born until adulthood. It basically narrates the stages in life we all go through. That even early in life we are met by challenges that we eventually resolve as we become wiser and more learned. Our life is peppered with people who influence us in many ways like family(represented by Pi's mother who was the symbolical orangutan in the story), kind people (the sailor/zebra) and bad people (the cook/hyena). They all exert their influences and effects on our person in different ways but nevertheless, the experiences resulting from our interaction with them teaches us how to deal with life as it comes full speed to meet us head on. Just like the storm, we also experience major events in life that marks the turning point of how we become who we are. Just like death, these people and experiences eventually leave us but the impression they have made on us allows us to deal with our present and future challenges.
Going through these life events allows us to recognize possible threats( the mystical carnivorous island) that disguise itself as good and harmless at times. It also makes us do what will save us from imminent danger even when there is an apparent risk by doing so.
As for the tiger.
It is actually the adult Pi. As the young Pi is forced to deal with the circumstances presented to him, it brings forth a braver, more mature Pi. The Tiger who is braver, fiercer, a go-getter. The Tiger never looks back to say goodbye to the young Pi because he never really left. He just grew up to be the man Pi was meant to be.
And that's how I see the life of Pi. What's your version?
Enjoy your Sunday everyone!!!!
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 20, 2013.