'Life of Pi' a journey to find God, Lee tells viewers at Taipei showing
By Linger Liu, The China Post
January 20, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Oscar-winning director Ang Lee yesterday said "Life of Pi" represents everyday life and the journey to pursue faith, after a special showing of the film in Taipei.
Lee visited Taipei after a promotional tour in Japan, and participated in a question-and-answer session with the audience after the viewing.
The director said he was interested in shooting the film because it was about the search for faith, which is quite a different journey from searching for the meaning of religion.
Lee said that the film's main character, Pi, represents an average, everyday individual. He said that life is essentially a journey to find the truth behind what we believe in.
Religion is a term used to interpret human behavior, while the journey in the film is about the search of God, Lee said.
The director said that the journey is divided on the one hand into an inward search, while at the same time seeking an understanding of faith in the world we live in.
He said he had a similar experience to Pi's, in that he started to get interested in existentialism around the age of 17 or 18. He said that the audience may find that elements of existentialism were applied in the making of the film.
Director as a Storyteller
Lee said that he sees himself as a storyteller who is in the position to tell of a journey about the search for God. He said that this story-telling aspect is what gives him the most meaning and provides him with a sense of purpose.
He also said this film's background is intricately woven into the background of an Indian family, thus the interpreting perspective has a concrete basis within Indian culture.
The film used Indian culture as its main structure, bound with ideology from other religions such as Buddhism, the director said. He pointed out but that at the same time the film combines the philosophical thinking of existentialism, as well as presenting concepts of illusion in the search for faith.
The director said that the film presents human emotion as a reflection initiated from people's own needs. The loss of Pi's family during the shipwreck was one way in which Lee illustrated the idea of being bound to a community, then losing those ties. This can purify the individual, making way for the journey to find God.
The director said that in life, the story itself can be an illusion, but to tell a story that is tied to illusions in the search for faith and God, makes the story itself real and realistic.