Noah interview round-up: Oscar buzz, lessons learned, musical links between Aronofsky’s films, and more

Special Screening of 'NOAH'As far as I can tell, there have been three times in the Academy’s history when it nominated two different Bible movies for Oscars in the same year: in 1951, when Quo Vadis and David and Bathsheba received over a dozen nominations combined (neither film won anything); in 1959, when Ben-Hur won a record-setting 11 awards and The Big Fisherman also scored a few nominations; and in 1966, when arthouse favorite The Gospel According to St. Matthew received three nominations while the big-budget film The Bible: In the Beginning… received just one.

Could it happen again this year? It’s a sign of how strong the Bible-movie revival is right now that Oscar buzz has followed both of the year’s major entries in that genre. Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings comes out in December, right in the thick of awards season, and while it might not be a front-runner just yet, no one can forget how, the last time Scott made an ancient epic (i.e. Gladiator), it won Best Picture. And then there is Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.

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Noah on Blu-Ray: some quick notes on the bonus features

noah-target-aThe Noah Blu-Ray is here — and with it, a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff that we have never seen before. Here are some quick notes on the bonus features.

First, a reminder that different editions of the film come with different bonus features.

As far as I know, seven bonus features have been released one way or another so far, and all of them are available on the “exclusive” Target edition of the Blu-Ray. (The bilingual packaging on the disc I bought here in Canada listed only six bonus features, but the actual disc had all seven.) But only three of them are available on the Blu-Ray that is available everywhere else.

Also, three bonus features are apparently included if you purchase the film directly from iTunes (if you use iTunes to get the free “digital copy” that comes with your disc, you won’t get any bonus features, just the film), but one of the iTunes bonus features is actually from the Target disc and not from the regular Blu-Ray.

Confused yet? I’ll try to sort it all out below.

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Noah music round-up: a featurette on Clint Mansell’s score, an interview with Patti Smith, and… a CCM music video?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been listening to Clint Mansell’s soundtrack for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah quite a bit since it came out last week. Intimate at times, big and bombastic at other times, it captures the emotional journey of the film rather well. Now Paramount has released a “featurette” on the soundtrack — more of an ad for it, really — and a few websites have posted interviews with Mansell and with Patti Smith, who wrote the film’s theme song ‘Mercy Is’. Plus we now have a music video of sorts with quotes about the film from church leaders and Christian film critics, all set to a praise-and-worship song. Check it all out below the jump.

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

The first time I saw Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, I took six pages of notes, and I watched it with the memory of an early draft of the screenplay lingering in my brain. So I was distracted on at least two levels: by a need to jot down as many quotes and facts as I could, and by an awareness of how the script had evolved. Never mind people who obsess over how the film may or may not have deviated from Genesis; I kept thinking of how the film was deviating from that early script!

Needless to say, I don’t normally take that kind of background knowledge to the theatre when I go to see a movie, and I knew it wouldn’t be fair to Noah to hold that knowledge against it either. I also knew I needed to just sit back and watch the movie like a proper movie, to bask in the drama and let it unfold.

And so, on Wednesday morning, I saw the film a second time. And I can think of no better way to sum up the difference between my two viewings of the film than to say that I didn’t cry at all the first time I saw Noah, but I shed tears on a few separate occasions the second time I saw it. It’s a powerful, powerful film.

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Noah interview round-up: director Darren Aronofsky

When I interviewed Darren Aronofsky in New York four weeks ago, it was the first time I had heard him discuss his film Noah in the context of midrash, a form of Jewish narrative interpretation of the scriptures. But he has certainly brought it up quite a bit in the interviews he has done since then.

For example, it’s right there in the headline that sits atop the interview that Huffington Post religion editor Paul Brandeis Raushenbush did with Aronofsky and his co-writer Ari Handel (‘Noah: A Midrash by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel’). A couple sample quotes:
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Listen to Patti Smith’s theme song for Noah via the BBC

‘Mercy Is’, the Patti Smith song that plays over the end credits of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, had its world premiere on BBC Radio 6 today. The song also features the Kronos Quartet, performing music arranged by Clint Mansell. You can hear it at the 2:54:50 mark in this program.

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