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Ang Lee's The Life of Pi - An Inspirational Preview

Ang Lee's The Life of Pi (Courtesy: 20th Century Fox).

The Wrap is reporting that genius Chinese/Taiwanese-born director Ang Lee's spectacular new 3D film, The Life of Pi, based on Yann Martel's 2001 fantasy novel, is the sensation of the CinemaCon convention, casting more predictable blockbusters, such as Peter Jackson's The Hobbit and Ridley Scott's Prometheus, into the shade.

Lee - whose films have ranged from the extraordinarily moving The Ice Storm, the equally powerful, Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain, through the thrills and astonishing beauty of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to the more gentle but still controversial romantic comedy, The Wedding Banquet (Lee's American debut as a director) - has an almost unrivaled ability to take whatever material he is working with and find its deepest emotional roots.

Writing in The Wrap, Brent Lang commented that, "If Avatar was 3D's Birth of a Nation, then Ang Lee's Life of Pi may be its Citizen Kane."

Lang went on to say: "If all goes well, [Lee] just may have pushed the format forward in a sumptuous and exciting way, using the extra dimensionality to give movie making added emotional resonance, similar to the initial effect of Technicolor or sound."

Just reading Brent's article revived my somewhat flagging excitement about cinema - given the time it has been since I have seen something truly breathtaking, in terms of filmmaking. (Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood was probably the last true thrill I had, although Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, last year, might just be up there, too).

Anthony Breznican of Entertainment Weekly tweeted, "Ok, so Ang Lee's Life of Pi will be getting a best picture Oscar nomination. The footage screened at #CinemaCon could claim one for short!"

Even the single still from the movie, above, fills me with hope, capturing a mix of mythic grandeur, Bollywood, and the more subtle emotional power that I am confident Lee will bring to the film. 

Audiences who saw the footage screened at CinemaCon said that the visual poetry of the powerful storm that takes the lives of the protagonist's family, the schools of flying fish and his battles with a Bengal tiger, are nothing compared to a single shot of him weeping over his loss. Lee auditioned 3,000 actors to find Suraj Sharma to play the young protagonist.

I feel grateful to Brent Lang for awakening me to a movie truly to look forward to - and I can't wait to see Ang Lee's The Life of Pi for myself.


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