Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Through the eyes of Pan and Pi

I'm not a big movie buff, nor am I a great reader of fiction, but whenever a new work appears to great applause and acclaim I tend to do what I can to find out what the fuss is all about. That's the way I came across both Pan's Labyrinth (2006) and The Life of Pi (2002).
What's powerful about these two great works of imagination, and the reason I link them together here, is that they invite the viewer/reader into a new (or ancient) way of seeing, interpreting and understanding the world. They both use the perspective of a child to achieve this, to spellbinding effect. In each case the children, who are experiencing great danger and uncertainty, contend with their circumstances by drawing on the latent power of stories.
What I found most provocative about the film and the book is that whilst the children's realities are at odds with the realities of the adults in whose worlds they coexist they possess a compelling depth of insight. Indeed at the deeper metaphysical level of conveying meaning their 'truth' is unsurpassed. At the end of the film and at the end of the book I was left with exactly the same residual feeling: I must keep the child in me alive.

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