Ang Lee takes a big step into the Oscar race as it was announced today his visionary adaptation of bestselling novel “Life of Pi” will have its world premiere as the Opening Night film of the New York Film Festival on September 28th.
Based on the Yann Martel book, newcomer Suraj Sharma plays the titular Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, who, on a journey to Canada with his family and their small zoo of exotic animals, finds himself stranded on a small lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, a hyena, an injured zebra and an orangutan. The animals inevitably begin killing and eating each other, leaving Pi with the tiger, who’s named Richard Parker. The film has been flying somewhat under the radar compared to splashier Oscar hopefuls, but has been quietly creating a buzz, especially after the first 3D footage from the film dazzled critics in attendance at CinemaCon in April.
“’Life of Pi’ is a perfect combination of technological innovation and a strong artistic vision,” said Film Society of Lincoln Center Selection Committee Chair & Program Director Richard Peña. “Ang Lee has managed to make a deeply moving, engrossing work that will delight audiences as much as it will astonish them. We’re enormously proud to have this film for our Opening Night for the 50th NYFF.”
Lee is an old friend of the New York Film Festival, having previously premiered “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” as the closing night film in 2000, and “The Ice Storm” opened the festival in 1997.