DEBORAH POTTER, correspondent: On the moral values in life of pi, it’s an adventure story about a boy who survives a shipwreck in a lifeboat, alone, except for a man-eating tiger. For director Ang Lee, the experience of translating the best-selling novel to the screen required a leap of faith. It is a journey, as a test of the strength of our faith, of how firm we believe in it. I think that has to be the number one thing I took from the experience.
POTTER: In some ways, the story of young Piscine Patel, known as Pi, defies belief from the start. The son of a zoo-keeper, the boy is raised Hindu but also practices Christianity and Islam, to the disappointment of his father. Dad: You cannot follow three different religions at the same time Piscine. Dad: Because believing in everything at the same time is the same as not believing in anything at all.
Listen, instead of leaping from one religion to the next, why not start with reason. In a few hundred years, science has taken us farther in understanding the universe than the religion has in 10,000. Mom: Science can teach us more about what is out there, but not what is in here. Dad: I much rather have you believe in something I don’t agree with than to accept everything blindly, and that begins with thinking rationally. Pi: I would like to be baptized.
The openness to faith that it asks for in others, without preaching, is what I think attracted me to the book to begin with and I think it’s what I am most pleased with in the telling of the film. Pi: God, I give myself to you. Whatever comes, I want to know, show me. POTTER: Stranded in the ocean, Pi senses God’s presence and power in the beauty of nature, stunningly conveyed in 3-D, but like Job in the Old Testament, he also rails at God for his suffering.
Pi: What more do you want? MAGEE: He finds more and more of what surrounds him stripped away until finally he’s got nothing left to hold onto. Okay, that was just the beginning. Now you’ve got to confront me. Ok, everybody ready for Pi today? POTTER: At Georgetown University, Professor Barbara Mujica’s freshman seminar on faith, fiction and film is studying the Life of Pi. The story has become a fixture in comparative religion courses for college students across the country.