Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Life of Pi" Tribute to Yann Martel and an Oscar Winning Movie

This past Sunday night Life of Pi won four Oscars at the Academy Awards, including the Oscar for Best Director. Ang Lee managed the seemingly impossible: He turned Yann Martel's Booker Prize winning novel, considered by many an impossible book to film, into an international blockbuster.

Last fall I gave a presentation to a local club about Life of Pi, the book on which I based my MA thesis. For my presentation, I created an Animoto video using the images from my personal copy of the illustrated novel.

Notice that Pi's face isn't visible in any of the images. This is because Martel wanted to place the reader in the boat with Pi. At its heart, Life of Pi is about faith, including the belief that a little empathy can save us all, and through stories we develop empathy and construct a better world.

Congratulations to all who worked on this beautiful movie. And to Yann Martel, I still love Pi and the idea that stories and art can save us.


  1. Glenda,

    I haven't read Life of Pi in years, but I wanted to run by you what I think the book is about. I think it's basically about the power of storytelling and stories, that stories are the real gods. So when he says he has a story that will make you believe in god, he doesn't mean an anthropomorphized God. He refers to the religion of storytelling. At the end when he tells the "actual" but less compelling story, it is in fact less true because it's not a good story. The point is that stories like this move us and make us feel alive. They are the real gods.

    I didn't like the movie that much. It was beautiful and I liked the actor who played the older Pi, but it stripped away so much of the complexity of the book.

    1. I agree w/ all you say, Paul. Martel talks about how we need stories for our own "salvation." I also agree that the movie oversimplifies much of the book, but it is a movie that's getting people to read the book. I like the hybrid religion Pi constructs. I also like how Martel establishes criteria for stories in the "Author's Note" and then tells a story that doesn't meet that criteria in the last part of the book to illustrate his point.

      Anyway, the book is complex, and for me it has enduring complexity and relevance.