Ang Lee on Creating Life of Pi

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24 Comments

  1. The J Viewer
    February 19, 2013

    Déjà vu. [?]

    Anyway, thanks for the ups (again?), AD.

  2. February 19, 2013

    oh did Sasha post this already? I totally missed it. oh well, can’t hurt to feature again today.

  3. The J Viewer
    February 19, 2013

    [It was fine. No big deal. Cheers, Ryan.] : )

  4. daveinprogress
    February 19, 2013

    I loved this clip, thanks – gives me goose bumps seeing bits of the movie again. Such an achievement. I would be thrilled to see him and the movie win next Sunday.

  5. KT
    February 19, 2013

    It’s great you posted this. Having just rewatched Life of Pi (how could you not see this movie again when it will never ever be the same on a small screen?), there is no contest for me: Ang deserves Best Director. Such an incredible achievement, and so moving. His love and direction permeates every shot of the film, a project that took four years to complete. In the interview, he describes the gorgeous sunrise scene when Pi first begins writing as a moment in which he hoped to capture what is “divine.” That moment always has me completely in awe of Lee’s vision. Another part of the film that particularly resonated with me was the shot when Pi descends under the water and is held suspended in front of us as the ghostly ship and his life as he knows it fade away in the distance. And of course, there is Richard Parker, one of the most spectacularly rendered CGI characters ever created. How about his dramatic entrance down the dark zoo corridor, the close-ups of his face, the tiger struggling to get back in the boat as Pi looks down on him, the dream that begins with Pi’s face and ends with Richard Parker’s??? This glorious use of 3-D is the most accomplished I have ever seen in a film–and where movies like Avatar and Hugo use the medium to create worlds–Life of Pi taps into a different dimension. We feel like we are with Pi on the boat alone in the Pacific, and the many layers of meaning Lee parses would not translate without the added quality of 3-D. The ending, where Pi is layered with Richard Parker before the final shot of the tiger entering the jungle as all color drains from the image, is incredibly powerful.

    In a very tight category, I hope the Academy seizes the chance it has without the director of the Best Picture frontrunner nominated to honor the directorial film of the year.

  6. daveinprogress
    February 19, 2013

    Brava KT! (Or bravo if i have used the incorrect gender salute) Beautifully said.

  7. KT
    February 19, 2013

    Thanks–oops if this video was posted earlier. Guess I missed it from several days back. But good nonetheless since today’s the final day of Academy voting.

  8. February 19, 2013

    he ending, where Pi is layered with Richard Parker before the final shot of the tiger entering the jungle as all color drains from the image, is incredibly powerful.

    good god, I love that too. Not only does the color fade from vivid to dim, the image itself flattens out from 3D to 2D.

  9. KT
    February 19, 2013

    True–I forgot that. Is there a subtle Vertigo shot/dolly zoom in that moment?

  10. February 19, 2013

    Is there a subtle Vertigo shot/dolly zoom in that moment?

    There seems to be, yep. I’ve tried to study what’s happening at that point visually each time I’ve seen it, and I’m pretty sure that there’s no more or no less foliage at the edge of the screen — but the sand in the foreground might stretch. More noticeably though, for me, it has the effect of an intricate origami pop-up book page collapsing in on itself

  11. Balu Vellanki
    February 19, 2013

    I would be the happiest man in San Francisco if “Life of Pi” wins the big award (atleast director). I forced atleast 20 of my friends to watch it in 3D on big screen. Thanks KT for such beautiful comment, I cannot agree more.

  12. Elton Almeida
    February 19, 2013

    Ang Lee is so unbelievable. How is possible to make so many different kind of films and be good in each one? (except Hulk of course). “Crouching Tigger, Hidden Dragon” is my favorite, I consider it one of the bests of all time, but I’m also a huge fan of Sense and Sensibility, Ice Storm, Brokeback Mountain, even Taking Woodstock.

  13. Scotty
    February 19, 2013

    I’ve been listening to the Sense and Sensibility soundtrack non-stop while working on an assignment in honor of Ang Lee (and composer Patrick Doyle).

    I’ve also been listening to Doyle’s other soundtrack, Great Expectations, by another great artist, Alfonso Cuaron.

    Two wonderfully different and yet, visionary adaptations.

    I’d be so happy if Ang Lee wins Best Director. I think if anyone deserves to be a two-time Best Director winner, it’s Lee. One of the greatest (and my personal favorite) living director.

  14. steve50
    February 19, 2013

    Great comment, KT.

    I can’t add anything to what’s above except that Ang Lee has, more than once in his body of work, reached in and touched my soul. When I rewatch the film or see a clip – the first time we see Richard Parker cautiously amble down that tunnel towards the camera – I well up, just like I did the first time I saw it.

  15. filmboymichael
    February 19, 2013

    I know that this is a pro Lincoln site and that’s ok – it’s brilliance is obvious. But no other film moved me more than Pi. It’s my favourite, favourite, favourite film of this year and probably the last few years.

  16. Daveylow
    February 19, 2013

    I saw Life of Pi on progressively larger screens three times. The first screening was on a rather small screen at Lincoln Center which was an add-on at the last minute when the film premiered there for the NYFF. Ang Lee and Suraj talked before the screening.

    The third time was at the Ziegfeld and I have to say that is the way the film should be seen. They have a huge screen but also great sound. And I must say I liked the film even more the third time! Knowing how the film will end was less jolting the third time around.

  17. February 19, 2013

    It’s my favourite, favourite, favourite film of this year and probably the last few years.

    If you ever listened to our Oscar Podcast you would have heard me say that even if I put Lincoln at #1 in my hope for Best Picture, “Life of Pi is my personal favorite film of the year” and I said “no other film touched me like Life of Pi in the past 4 or 5 years.” — filmboymichael, that’s pretty much an exact quote, and I said it on more than one podcast.

    Anyone who remembers Sasha’s interview with Ang Lee and her review of Life of Pi knows that she’ll be happy if Lee or Life of Pi win.

    I wish I’d ever felt the tide rising for Pi, but it’s always struck me as too transcendental for the Academy to choose as BP. I sure hope I’m wrong.

    But something about Life of Pi makes it seem to be Too Good For the Oscars. Like Pan’s Labyrinth on Ecstasy.

  18. filmboymichael
    February 19, 2013

    @ryan – I listen to your podcasts and I know how you both feel about Pi – I think that I’m just getting a bit over excited about this coming weekend and Pi’s prospects. My comment was by no means a slam, just my exuberance toward the film.

  19. KT
    February 19, 2013

    I wish Sasha had resurrected some of that Life of Pi love. David O. Russell is coming on strong as I warned; I believe the Best Director race is between him and Ang Lee in a close race. I hope they get this right.

  20. Spacey
    February 19, 2013

    Anyone who remembers Sasha’s interview with Ang Lee and her review of Life of Pi knows that she’ll be happy if Lee or Life of Pi win.

    That was a gorgeous interview. I would have burst into tears, too.

    Here’s hoping Pi can win.

  21. filmboymichael
    February 19, 2013

    “That was a gorgeous interview. I would have burst into tears, too.”

    really. One of Sasha’s crowning moments, I thought.

  22. Astarisborm
    February 19, 2013

    To me Life of Pi is in a league of its on. I have and probably never wil experience such wonder and awe from a movie. Saw it again today, this time with my grandfather. Today was the first time I ever saw tears in his eyes. Life of Pi has that power to bring out every emotion in me. I am praying that Ang Lee wins on Sunday. Life of Pi is his masterpiece.

  23. Al Robinson
    February 19, 2013

    I am totally a FANBOY with Life of Pi. Life of Pi should win Best Picture and Director, and it saddens me a little that it won’t win either. Best Picture will go to Argo, and Director will go to Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. They always talk about the Best Picture winner should stand out above all the rest, and I think Life of Pi does that.

  24. February 20, 2013

    Ang Lee has elevated the art of cinema greater than any other director working within the studio system. Just fucking try to argue with me on this. Just fucking try.

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