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Cinema as Sermons - The Life of Pi

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

In this excellent 12 minute video from Akshunn Jakhu we are treated to a comprehensive summation of the Life of Pi movie.

Cinema as Sermons - The Life of Pi

Adapted from the Yann Martel's 2001 fantasy adventure novel by screenwriter David Magee, director Ang Lee's new film traces the journey of Pi Patel from India, across the Pacific Ocean, to Canada. Told in flashbacks from the perspective of the adult Pi to a struggling author who hopes to be inspired and "believe in God."

The story is told three acts. The first, set in India, concerns Pi's childhood living at a zoo run by his parents. He develops a love for a girl at school, for the world's many animals, and for various religions, deciding that "faith is a house with many rooms." Ang Lee captures the many creatures with amazing detail and a unique sense of humor.

While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker.

The young Pi learns how to get along with everyone as he simultaneously embraces the religions of Hinduism, Catholicism, and Islam. His father chastises him saying, "Believing in everything is the same as believing in nothing."

And here we see reflections of our own plight in this post-modern world. We are so overwhelmed with information that we no longer know what is right and wrong. Truth has become a personal choice. Moral relativism has opened the doors on all manner of sin and depravity. Many people today believe in everything and end up believing in nothing. Everything cannot be all right and all wrong at the same time. This applies to belief systems- religions and our choices in life.

Life of Pi is a beautifully shot film that exists somewhere in between the worlds of fantasy and adventure. Cinematographer Claudio Miranda had the difficult task since much of the film that did not exist in the real world.

Life of Pi contains a multitude of advanced special effects shots, with a great deal of the movie, including Richard Parker the Tiger, being generated by computers.

Life of Pi does not attempt to distinguish between the faiths at the heart of its story, and it suggests that truth boils down to our subjective preference. It is a beautifully made film full of dazzling imagery. Although Life of Pi may be faithful to the book, it is not faithful to the Christ who Pi claims to know and believe in, or to the authority of the written accounts of Christ's life preserved in Scripture.

The Life of Pi if nothing else will make you think about your faith and the world around you.

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