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Theme Changer

 Topic: Noah by Darren Aronofsky

 (Read 2965 times)
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  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     OP - April 04, 2014, 01:53 PM


    Spoilers here. For discussion of the film.

    trailer:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OSaJE2rqxU

    Noah is well worth watching.

    I'll say this, it doesn't flinch from showing the horror of the Abrahamic God.

    In fact, it seems to suggest that the only way for religion to be benign is to transcend the depiction of God in the Bible (and by extension, the Q'uran)

    The only way for humans to be good is to transcend the stories of God we've been told.

    God and the Prophets are not glossed or whitewashed. The utter cruelty, horror of God's work is exposed, raw and to the bone. God's collective punishment of innocents. The wickedness of his whims.

    Aronofsky is an atheist. This is an atheist's take on God and prophethood. But he accepts the premises of the tale of Noah. He sets it in that world. With its logic, of prophetic vision, of the existence of God, the 'rules' of that world, of the Bible's world, of Adam and Eve. And he follows it all in the story, how it works itself out. He doesn't flinch, he accepts the fables, the tales, and that is probably why its so powerful.

    Religious believers should give him credit. He really does take the story seriously. He doesn't mock, he doesn't sneer. He just loads it up with his humanity and serious philosophical and ethical questions and works his way through the world of this Biblical tale.

    And what I took from it is 'humanity'. Aronofsky shows that we are able to transcend the evil and cruelty of our world and of humans (a cruelty and evil he implicates the creator in with his unflinching look at the 'logic' of this tale) and says that we can transcend the evil and cruelty and horror partly by transcending the limitations we placed on ourselves through the notion of God that man submitted to in these scriptures.

    Last thought - Noah and the stories of prophets are essentially parochial tales that take local ideas and extend them to the world. Each society has its own myths, fables, creation stories, tales of divinity, creation and destruction. These ones got stuck because religion made them stick. We live in an age where we can question, understand, where we don't have to fear what the religious tales said we should fear. Our myths of creation and of our humanity can transcend the old ones. We can take the old ones as metaphor and take what we need, without accepting submission to that cruel and literal God. Aronofsky's film reminded me of this. I think that is what great art does.










    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #1 - April 04, 2014, 01:57 PM

    at times it has the kind of feel aesthetically of the Lord of the Rings movies. And there is some imagery that is incredible. Also, I think Aronofsky sneaks evolution into there in one sequence.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #2 - April 04, 2014, 04:50 PM

    After hearing you I am dying to watch it. I think accepting the tales as it is and showing it's flaws without any mockery or bias is a sign of a good director/producer, whatever Aronofsky is.
  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #3 - April 04, 2014, 05:14 PM

    Interview with Darren Aronofsky

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDYZfcT8uw0




    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #4 - April 04, 2014, 05:33 PM

    the things that Noah does, the things that he contemplates doing, he does them because of the prophecies and to please his God. The cruelty and inhumane things a believer does today because he thinks it pleases his God, the film suggests this link. Its speaking of the religious today too. Aronofsky is speaking on many different levels with this film. A Biblical film that is a profound critique of the nature of the Abrahamic God and religion and literalism, but also deeply humane and sympathetic. Quite a movie.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #5 - April 04, 2014, 05:45 PM

    Can't wait to see this. Huge fan of Aronofsky.

    Have you seen The Fountain?

    Too fucking busy, and vice versa.
  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #6 - April 04, 2014, 06:12 PM

    I haven't, but I've listened to the soundtrack to that film and it sounds amazing. Clint Mansell does the soundtrack for this film too.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #7 - April 04, 2014, 06:20 PM

    The cruelty and inhumane things a believer does today because he thinks it pleases his God, the film suggests this link.

    I know someone who once admitted that if God had made it a righteous deed to kill innocent people that gives sawab, he would have done it because God said it! I was shocked to hear this from him because he is such a nice guy. That day I realised what some members of this forum meant by saying that Islam/religion sometimes make people inhumane and blind.
  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #8 - April 04, 2014, 06:59 PM

    The idea is that morals come from god. If god says or does something it's moral by default. If you're uncomfortable because it seems evil, this is your wickedness and corrupt heart and who are you to question the divine?

    You're taught from childhood to repress your own sense of right and wrong. All that matters is the storybook.

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #9 - April 05, 2014, 01:06 AM

    *I typed the following before I read your responses above. I didn't want what you had written to influence my own initial reactions. That said, I wrote it up in a crappy version of notepad on my old laptop I had with me and the format doesn't seemed to have copied well. I'll apologize in advance for the weird paragraph layout. I can't be bothered to fix it. Grin

    Seeing what you wrote now, though, I can tell we picked up on some of the same things. You also pointed out some really insightful concepts portrayed in the film that I hadn't noticed.  Afro

    ++++++++

    Where shall I begin with this movie?

    I think I'll start by saying that this is not a lift-you-up, action packed,

    good-guys-win sort of movie. It is not a Gladiator, nor a Braveheart,

    nor a Troy. In fact, before I went to see Noah, the thought crossed my

    mind that some believers in the Abrahamic God might scoff at the Idea

    of an Atheist enjoying the epic tale of Noah, to which I thought I might

    respond that it would be no more strange than a Christian enjoying the

    epic tale of Marvel's Thor as rooted as it may be in paganism.

    But this movie is something else entirely. Noah is not some noble hero.

    We can not rally behind him against the forces of evil as we rallied

    behind Thor. Because while we naturally feel an affinity with Thor as

    he sought to protect Asgard from Dark Elves and defended the

    inhabitants of Earth from their terrors, Noah reminds us that in this

    biblical tale, all of mankind - our own species - is meant to be the

    enemy. It is unsettling at first to get in to, but perhaps that is the point.

    We are subtly reminded that this is a tale of arbitrary favoritism, global

    destruction, and indiscriminate annihilation.

    Still, though, the story remains true to the overall theme of the biblical

    narrative in a way that does not make these points overtly. For that, I

    commend the director.

    In fact, the several times when the story does deviate from the Biblical

    narrative, we are reminded of just how much more absurd the movie

    would have been had it stayed true to the text. I can not help but think

    that this was deliberate.

    For example, the movie has the very bizarre addition of  giant "fallen

    angels" made of stone that assist Noah in the building of the Ark.

    While this is a remarkable license to take, it necessarily leads you to

    ask how else Noah and his tiny family would have undertaken such a

    massive task.

    Also, the forest that magically appears in order to provide the wood for

    the vessel leaves the believer to explain where else in the Middle East

    those resources might have come from.


    These liberties go on and on. In each instance, it is actually an

    improvement upon the Biblical narrative. I loved the fact that anyone

    arguing that the movie should have stayed truer to the text would

    indeed be arguing for an even more absurd explanation. Noah's

    daughters don't seduce him into having sex in the movie and there is

    no incest implied until the very end. Instead, the "sister" is not a real

    sister, but a girl who was found wounded and taken in by the family.

    The fact that believers would be left insisting that Noah banged his

    own daughter instead is pure genius.**


    Also, Ham is not cursed by Noah at the end as the Bible asserts.

    Instead, he wanders off on his own because Noah would not allow a

    girl with whom he had bonded to board the Ark. Again, I'd love to see

    the Bible Thumpers insisting that Noah go on a drunken rant cursing

    Ham and his offspring.

    Finally, I'll say that the movie did a fantastic job at showing the

    humanity of the victims who would have been mercilessly annihilated if

    the Biblical narrative were true. The question of Man's "wickedness" is

    addressed in such an elegant manner. We are also reminded that all of

    Noah's family, Noah himself, and even God seem to all share these

    alleged vices. They are what make us human. And if we are made in

    God's image, then what does that say about him? Surely, his plan of

    collectively wiping out our entire species for having the nature he gave

    us (in his image) speaks volumes about his morality as well.


    One last thing, as it comes to me. I love the fact that it was mentioned

    that "even snakes" were allowed to board the Ark. I can't help feel that

    this was done deliberately to show the absurdity of the idea that the

    species that God supposedly cursed (by eternally ripping of their legs) for the

    crime of turning mankind wicked in the first place was saved on the

    ark, while human beings them selves were not. I clapped at the quote

    "He saves these beasts but lets children drown!?"


    This movie was not entertaining. It was more than that. It was thought provoking.

    **Edit: I remembered this morning that it was Lot who was said to have slept with his daughters after an incident of drunken seduction, not Noah. I mixed up the two morally bankrupt stories in my synopsis. Still, though, the bible would have the descendants of Noah repopulating the Earth together.
  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #10 - April 05, 2014, 01:28 AM

    great insights about how the changes Aronofsky made highlights all these questions of the Bible narrative.

    I thought Tubal Cain was a great way to bring in the themes and ideas that provoke our thought here.

    Another thing watching it made me think, something I've thought before, but because it concentrates it so viscerally in the medium of cinema - these stories really are human psychodrama and projection into a vision of 'God' and religion. Human's torturous fears and anxieties and pain.

    What we call God, is a summation of men's psychological darkness and fears, that then stalks mankind, from the stories men told, to the institutionalisation of these darknesses and fears in books, and religion. Its a self perpetuating cycle. We are punished by a God we create to punish us.

    I'm really glad that mainstream Hollywood could produce a movie that is so deeply questioning of the Abrahamic God and religion. Credit where its due.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #11 - April 05, 2014, 01:54 AM

    Quote
    Another thing watching it made me think, something I've thought before, but because it concentrates it so viscerally in the medium of cinema - these stories really are human psychodrama and projection into a vision of 'God' and religion. Human's torturous fears and anxieties and pain.

    What we call God, is a summation of men's psychological darkness and fears, that then stalks mankind, from the stories men told, to the institutionalisation of these darknesses and fears in books, and religion. Its a self perpetuating cycle. We are punished by a God we create to punish us.


    That is so remarkably true.
  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #12 - April 05, 2014, 02:00 AM

    One last thing, as I was leaving the auditorium I caught the sound of a lyric from the song played at closing credits (I'm not sure what the song was). "Mercy is as mercy does," it said.  I thought that was a brilliant quote to air after a depiction of the actions of the Abrahamic God.
  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #13 - April 05, 2014, 02:12 AM

    great insights about how the changes Aronofsky made highlights all these questions of the Bible narrative.




    The more I think about this idea, the more inclined I am to believe it was deliberate. Not only would Bible thumpers be forced to insist on even more absurd scenarios in order to stay true to the text, those who are neutral regarding or not overly familiar with the specifics of the narrative in Genesis and then go checking the veracity story out of curiosity would also be given shocking insight into the morals of the Abrahamic God. It was a brilliant tactic that I can not help but think was done on purpose,
  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #14 - April 05, 2014, 12:10 PM

    Yeah I agree with you. The whole thing about those stone angels, I enjoyed it too just on a 'hey this is cool' cinematic level. But these refinements have consequences in highlighting the absurdity of the literalist narrative. In turning Noah into a fantasy world story, it pushes it further towards metaphor, and literalism / metaphor is the faultline we're on.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #15 - April 05, 2014, 08:33 PM

    Quote
    Also, the forest that magically appears in order to provide the wood for the vessel leaves the believer to explain where else in the Middle East those resources might have come from.

    Umm, that in itself probably wouldn't be an issue*. Parts of the Middle East used to be much more heavily forested than they are now. For instance, Lebanon cedar was prized for shipbuilding all around the eastern Mediterranean, but these days it's almost non-existent (largely because it used to be prized for shipbuilding).

    *One of the few parts of the story that wouldn't.

    Devious, treacherous, murderous, neanderthal, sub-human of the West. bunny
  • Noah by Darren Aronofsky
     Reply #16 - April 05, 2014, 10:49 PM

    Like The Fountain before it, Darren Aronofsky created a comic adaptation of Noah that was released before the film.

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
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