Prophet Joseph — episodes thirty-seven and thirty-eight

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Synopsis. The sons of Jacob embark on their journey to Egypt, leaving their wives, children, and their brother Benjamin behind with their father. They are also accompanied by some Canaanites. Joseph visits some of the land that has fallen into the Egyptian government’s possession and tells Malek they should divide it among farmers who don’t have any land. The brothers arrive in Egypt and try to buy grain. Joseph is alerted to their presence, and he has them ushered into the palace — much to the chagrin of Horemheb, who doesn’t like seeing these lowly shepherds there — but Joseph does not meet the brothers in person. Joseph tells his wife Asenath that his brothers deserve punishment but he forgave them long ago. Zuleikha, at home with her dilapidated idols, prays to Joseph’s God and asks if God will listen to her.

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Prophet Joseph — episodes five and six

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Synopsis. Jacob has a nightmare in which ten wolves chase Joseph to his death. He describes the dream to Leah, who passes it on to their family, and soon everyone assumes that the wolves are a metaphor for Joseph’s ten older brothers. Satan himself appears to the brothers, claiming to be a resident of one of the nearby villages, and describes a dream of his own that stokes their jealousy even more. A Canaanite accuses the older brothers of mistreating him, and Jacob admonishes his sons to live in harmony with the “Palestinians” who were living in Canaan before they were. Joseph dreams that the sun, moon and eleven stars will one day bow down to him, and Jacob tells him to keep this dream to himself. But Bilhah overhears them and tells Joseph’s brothers about the dream, and they agree that they should kill Joseph.

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The chronological Noah: an illustrated integration of the three origin stories in Darren Aronofsky’s film

There are two Creation stories in Genesis, and the details don’t always mesh. Likewise, there are three origin stories in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah — the opening prologue, the story of the Watchers told by Og, and the story of Creation and the Fall told by Noah — and the details there don’t always fit together all that comfortably, either.

Films, children’s books and other retellings of the Creation story sometimes integrate the two Genesis stories by omitting some details and rearranging the rest, so that, for example, Adam names the animals and Eve is taken from Adam’s rib (a la Genesis 2) before God tells the man and woman to be fruitful and multiply (a la Genesis 1).

Similarly, I thought it might be fun to take the three origin stories in Noah and weave them together into a single narrative that shows the creation and fall of the Watchers and early humans together. The screencaps below are only a sampling of the images from these sequences, but I have kept every word that accompanied them.

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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 it had some striking things in common with The Fountain in particular. But Noah actually harks back — visually and thematically — to pretty much all of Aronofsky’s earlier films to one degree or another.

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Creation, evolution, the Fall and more in a new Noah clip

Six weeks after Noah came out in theatres, the filmmakers have released another clip — and it’s one of the best sequences in the entire film. The Creation sequence begins with a single shot that captures billions of years of evolution, from the Big Bang to the mammals that existed just before humanity came along, and it goes on to show the Fall, Cain killing Abel, and the violence that has continued throughout human history right up to the present day. You can watch the video — and read a few thoughts I have about the significance of this clip — below the jump.

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Be as wise as serpents, but stay away from snakeskins!

“Temptation led to sin.”

That’s the second sentence in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. It’s printed on the screen for all to see. It is accompanied by an image of a serpent flicking its tongue at the camera. And it is followed by images of violence and destruction.

To those who are even half-familiar with the story of the Fall, you might think that this would all seem pretty straightforward. But no. Instead, a bizarre idea has surfaced in recent days, to the effect that Aronofsky’s film espouses a kind of Gnosticism.

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