Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Noah We Don't Knowa

Darren Aronofsky has filmed and written several challenging stories like a genius mathematician in pursuit of a number that will predict stock market picks and one man's 1500 year quest to save the woman he loves. Most of his films haven't been as financially successful as major studio films but he makes up for it as a great storyteller. Now, Darren wants to tackle a story of biblical proportions.

[The Drunkenness of Noah, Sistine Chapel ceiling (fresco), 1509, Michelangelo Buonarroti]

The story of Noah has been done before, of course who can forget the 2007 film Evan Almighty, which took the Noah story in a more comedic direction. It was the most expensive comedy film produced at the time, but you do have to spend money to make money. Darren wants to film the Noah that history has forgotten, a dark and tormented Noah, a side of Noah that most people wouldn't imagine a Bible character having.

Darren Aronofsky told the Guardian in April of 2007:
"Noah was the first person to plant vineyards and drink wine and get drunk," he says admiringly. "It's there in the Bible - it was one of the first things he did when he reached land. There was some real survivor's guilt going on there. He's a dark, complicated character."
And recently elaborated a bit more with Ifilm in September last year:
"Yeah, I would hope so. It’s a really cool project and I think it’s really timely because it’s about environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet. So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist. He’s a really interesting character. Hopefully they’ll let me make it. Oh that’s right I forgot I told you that whole religious thing."
And in December he mentioned to Rope of Silicon that they will first be releasing it as a graphic novel.

So what do you think of a dark, environmentalist Noah who suffers from survivor's guilt? It can't be any more controversial than Martin Scorsese's 1988 film, The Last Temptation of Christ (which I own but have yet to see) but if it comes to fruition I expect it to get boycotted like any film that carries views, stories, or beliefs that conflicts with certain forms of Christianity (oh yeah, and don't forget that Noah, or Nuh, is also a prophet in Islam). If it is filmed in the context of a local flood instead of a worldwide flood this will open up a whole other can of worms between Creationist and Evolutionist. But there is one thing that most people forget about films, they're just stories! It doesn't matter if they're factually correct or if they portray certain characters that contradict with tradition and text. What matters is what YOU get out of the story.

How does it move you? What emotions are stirred? How does Noah's personal suffering speak to you about the human experience? We use stories as a means of communicating our deepest emotions that mere statements have difficulty properly reproducing the desired emotion. I can tell you that I feel sad or I can tell you my heart-wrenching story that caused my sadness. Storytelling is what helped Christianity rise to the top and spread throughout the world. Christianity's success has nothing to do with proper belief, ritual, and theology but the heart of Christianity lies in the story of Jesus who, because of his infinite and all encompassing love, suffered for the sins of the world to redeem it and become joined with the Father. It is the story which speaks to the heart, not the minute details of fact. Does it matter if 2000 years from now historians get the details of 9/11/01 wrong (3 instead of 2 planes hit the Twin Towers) or that it was a dark day for humanity as millions of people around the world mourned the tragic event? When has the details of a story become more important that the stories message? More importantly, what is the story telling you?

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