Do You Know Noah?

Do You Know Noah? February 21, 2014

I’m kind of curious about the movie version of Noah that’s coming out in March. This is the one directed by Darren Aronofsky, known for Black Swan.

I’m curious to see what he does with it. The Biblical version is so very spare. Even the Mesopotamian version in Gilgamesh is more poetic. It’s going to take a lot of work to flesh it out.

But according to the Hollywood Reporter, Aronofsky has a lot of potential problems, both with the new material and the old:

The screenings revealed a range of issues for that group [conservative Christians]. Some in the audience found the Noah character too conflicted. Some needed clarification that Noah’s son Shem, played by Douglas Booth, was married to Emma Watson’s character, Ila. “It was important for a Christian audience that you affirmed that these two were married — which we took for granted,” says Moore. That was easy to address by adding a line, but there were more complicated problems.

God’s about to cause the greatest act of genocide ever, but we don’t want anyone fornicating because that would set a bad example.

In some cases, Moore says, “people had recollections of the story that weren’t actually correct.” For example, there was Noah’s ability to open and close the door to the ark. “People said the door to the ark is supposed to be so big that no man can close it. Well no, that’s not actually what it says. What it says is that God ultimately shut the door of the ark when the flood comes, so it wasn’t Noah shutting the door on the rest of humanity — it was God making a decision.”

Interesting bit of embedded interpretation there. Not something I’ve heard before. Anybody else run across it?

And then there’s the scene — which actually is in the Bible — in which Noah, back on land after the flood, gets drunk by himself in a cave. “But most people do not remember or were never taught the fact that after Noah’s off the ark, there is a moment in the story where he is drunk,” says Moore.

That’s Genesis 9:20-21. It’s actually kind of important, since it explains Genesis 5:28-29. Noah was the first to grow grapes and make wine, causing his father to proclaim, “Out of the ground which the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands.” Without the second part, the first part makes no sense.

So it looks like some of his Christian audiences are confused because he doesn’t include things that aren’t in the Bible and because he does include things that are in the Bible. That’s what you call a no win situation.

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