To mark the 50th anniversary of the prestigious New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center premiered Ang Lee’s new movie, Life of Pi, based on Yann Martel’s popular novel. Introducing this spectacular 3D adventure tale about a boy shipwrecked on the high seas, sharing a lifeboat and survival strategies with a Bengal tiger, the modest director said he defied some moviemaking wisdom, Never film kids, animals, and water, or shoot in 3D. He smiled slyly. Then Life of Pi began: beautiful birds seemed to fly through the cavernous Alice Tully Hall, with menacing creatures to come. At movie’s end, many viewers like Carol Kane said they watched in tears.
Young Pi, Suraj Sharma, 17 when the film was shot and now 19, said he never shared a single frame with any of his four tiger co-stars. Rather in his debut role, he played against a blue blob. Celebrating with his family who traveled from India for this occasion, and with Mason Lee, another young actor and the director’s son, Suraj said he got the part when his brother went to audition. They asked him to try out too. Wet for most of the film, he said he did not know how to swim, but after this experience he is certain, “I could never sink now.”