Looking out into a glowing early spring world, I could not, this morning, help thinking of Boston, and, beyond Boston, the plague of madness the world is now suffering from.  This convulsion of sectarian violence is not new to human history: what would be new would be its cessation, reason supported by generosity and good will.

I don't know what my morning's thoughts have to do with the beautiful, ambitious, and provocative movie I watched last night, The Life of Pi. A boy adrift on the Pacific with a Bengal Tiger as his only companion. A brilliantly simple idea, its idea incarnate in the situation. Not one stupid or coercive moment in the entire film, which makes it, in this era of special effects--the key one being explosions--unique.

I'm thinking of the moment near the end, the moment the film insists that we pay close attention to, when Mr. Richard Parker, the tiger, does not look back at Pi before he disappears into the Mexican jungle. After the 227 days they've spent together, after the relationship they've developed, the tiger does not turn back for a final look. He pauses only to peer into the jungle and then he stalks into it.

It's this, I'm thinking, that seals the point that their being together was a. . .visitation, in Christian vocabulary, an epiphany. But an epiphany of what? This challenge is then deepened by the other story the narrator tells: which story is true, he asks his listener, the novelist? Which does he believe? Which is the better story? The story of the boy and the tiger,  the novelist says. "And the same applies to god,"  the narrator says, smiling.

The entire movie--its terrors and splendors--and it is rich in both--comes to this moment, this deep, resonant truth.
 


Comments




Leave a Reply