The thematic and visual links between Noah and Darren Aronofsky’s earlier films: a gallery

vlcsnap-2014-10-03-16h13m51s23The six films made by Darren Aronofsky to date all tackle different genres and subjects, but they also have some striking things in common.

For one thing, they have generally been made by the same creative team, including composer Clint Mansell (who has scored all six of Aronofsky’s films), cinematographer Matthew Libatique (who has shot all of Aronofsky’s films except for The Wrestler) and a number of recurring actors (such as Jennifer Connelly, Ellen Burstyn and especially Mark Margolis).

But the films also have some thematic overlaps. As I mentioned in my review of Noah for Books & Culture, Aronofsky films often dwell on the notion that it is impossible to touch perfection and survive. They also tend to revolve around characters who are obsessed with something, often to the characters’ detriment. And more often than not, they tend to make references to the Bible, some more pronounced than others.

And that brings us to Noah. When the film came out, a number of critics (such as The Playlist’s Drew Taylor) noted that the film had some striking parallels with The Fountain in particular. But it actually harks back — visually and thematically — to pretty much all of Aronofsky’s earlier films to one degree or another.

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Noah gears up for release in Japan and the Philippines

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah has had a difficult time getting released overseas in some countries. First some Muslim countries banned it for its lack of piety, and then China — the second-largest moviegoing market in the world — banned it for being too religious.

The film also had to put off its release in the Philippines, due to a dispute between two distributors. But now at least that has been taken care of, as various sites are reporting that the film is due to open in the Philippines on June 11 — which might mean that the film has already opened there, given that that country is on the other side of the International Date Line.

Articles on the film, containing quotes from various people, have recently appeared on news sites based in the Philippines, but it is not clear to me whether these articles contain any new quotes or are simply repeating stuff from other articles.

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Box-office update: Noah slips out of the top ten; Heaven Is for Real and God’s Not Dead have decent holds

For the first time since it came out four weeks ago, Noah fell out of the top ten — and behind God’s Not Dead — at the North American box office this weekend.

Both God’s Not Dead and Noah are currently playing in about 1,600 theatres. But where God’s Not Dead took in an estimated $2.8 million and landed in the #11 spot, Noah took in $2.3 million and landed at #14.

Noah also took in another $11.1 million overseas, benefiting from strong holds in France, Italy, the UK, Germany, Spain, Turkey and especially Brazil.

Noah has grossed $97.3 million in North America and another $222.7 million overseas, for a global total of $320 million. God’s Not Dead, for its part, has grossed $52.7 million in North America and has presumably made more money overseas, where it has been playing for a few weeks now, but no foreign figures are available at Box Office Mojo yet.

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Noah interview round-up: d.p. Matthew Libatique

I already have “interview round-ups” for director Darren Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel, so hey, why not one for cinematographer Matthew Libatique, who actually shot the images without which a film like Noah couldn’t exist?

Libatique went to film school with Aronofsky and has shot all but one of his feature films (the exception being 2008’s The Wrestler). Libatique even shot a couple of Aronofsky’s early short films!

Libatique has also worked multiple times with filmmakers like Spike Lee (She Hate Me, Inside Man, Miracle at St. Anna), Joel Schumacher (Tigerland, Phone Booth, The Number 23) and Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Cowboys & Aliens).

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Exclusive: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel on biblical accuracy and combining science and religion in Noah

My interviews with Darren Aronofsky: 1998 | 2014 pt 1 | 2014 pt 2 | 2014 pt 4

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of seeing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and speaking to both Aronofsky and his co-writer/co-producer Ari Handel immediately after the screening. The following is part three of our conversation. Click on the links for parts one and two. The film comes out tomorrow night.

Warning: This section of the interview begins with a spoiler from the film’s third act.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the question of “accuracy.” It’s a word that comes up constantly in relation to Bible films, I think because people are afraid of creativity, and yet of course your film does definitely follow certain things like the measurements of the Ark, and yet on the other hand your film has only one wife for one of Noah’s kids–

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First impressions: Noah (dir. Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

It’s tempting to say that Darren Aronofsky’s Noah has brought back the Bible epic. It’s certainly the first major live-action Bible movie to be produced by a Hollywood studio in decades. But the fascinating thing about this film is how utterly different it is from the Bible movies that came before it. Aronofsky has not revived the genre so much as he has utterly transformed it.

Unlike most Bible films, which take place within decidedly historical contexts, Noah is based on the earliest, most “mythic” chapters of Genesis, as well as some of the Jewish legends that have grown up around those chapters. Building on the ancient otherworldliness of these stories, Aronofsky has created a grounded yet somewhat fantastical environment that is, at times, strikingly reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings movies.

But the core biblical themes — of temptation, wickedness and punishment — are still there, and Aronofsky infuses the genre with his own personal style, not least in his use of haunting dream sequences and in his focus on a morally ambiguous protagonist.

Put it all together and you’ve got something quite unique.

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