8:00 PM, 15th March, 2013
Directed by Ang Lee (Eat Drink Man Woman; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Brokeback Mountain), this film is the adaptation of Yann Martel’s book of the same name.
The story starts with a writer seeking inspiration making contact with middle-aged Piscine Molitor ‘Pi’ Patel (Khan) on the urging of a mutual friend in India. Pi recounts his life story, beginning in Pondicherry at his family’s Zoo housed in the former French colonial botanic gardens. The story of Pi’s life in India takes a mostly standard coming-of-age + fish-out-of-water tale and embellishes it with exotic flair, a love interest and spiritual awareness that is vaguely reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s writing.
When Pi’s father, Santosh (Adil Hussein) decides to sell the zoo animals and move the family to Canada on a Japanese freighter, Pi is understandably heartbroken. When the ship passes over the Mariana Trench, a wild storm hits and the ship sinks, taking Pi’s family with it. The majority of the film now begins with the adolescent Pi (Sharma) existing for 227 days at sea in a life raft with a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker (quite a lot happens).
While most people are polarised in their opinions of the story, the film is undeniably entertaining. The visual effects are mesmerising, sometimes crafty (like the subtle letterboxing of the flying fish scene to enhance immersion) and occasionally breaking-through to surrealism. If you haven’t had a chance to see it on the big screen, don’t miss this opportunity.
10:22 PM, 15th March, 2013
Mark O’Brien (Hawkes) is completely immobilised, the result of a childhood bout with polio. He can’t survive more than a few hours without an iron lung, and is reliant on carers. He has been able to forge a career as a writer but, as he frequently shares with local Catholic priest Father Bryan (Macy), he longs for the physical intimacy with another human that has so far eluded him in life. Deciding to be proactive about this, he seeks the services of a sex surrogate, Cheryl (Hunt).
Director Lewin (who has long worked the traps of Australian cinema, with movies like 1989’s Georgia) has survived polio himself, so he is the perfect film-maker to bring this true story to the big screen. The best thing about this movie is the acting. After the one-two punch of Winter’s Bone (Semester 1, 2011) and Martha Marcy May Marlene (Semester 1, 2012), Hawkes just keeps showing his brilliance, and his is one of the best male acting performances of last year, in my opinion. Helen Hunt reminds us of how much we loved her in movies like As Good As It Gets, with her brave (she’s naked for most of the movie) and sensitive portrayal of Cheryl. And Macy is his usual self as the pastor who feels God will give Mark a free pass.
This is a positive heart-warming film that you’ll be sorry to miss.