Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

Discussions of specific films and franchises.
Message
Author
User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#51 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:28 pm

knives wrote:That would be a pretty different version than in the OT (though the story was around for about a thousand years before that in various forms). If Aronofsky were keeping with the general outline of the bible than Noah would be acting out of plot to be a cassandra. Also I think it is a bit wrong to approach this story, or any ancient fable, with the modern mentality suggested by genocide in this instant (also if I remember rightly there were more than two of each animal by that's irrelevant).
I don't see any reason, as a viewer, to overlook the fact that this is a deeply callous story (especially if, as the trailer suggests, the moral weight is given to the Noah who keeps people off the boat). It's hard for a modern audience not to be alienated from the morality of this story, so it would be a major aesthetic error on Aronofsky's part to make a movie agreeing with that morality rather than taking a neutral stance. I mean, imagine being emotionally prodded towards feeling that the entirety of humanity being condemned to die, horribly, often by association alone, is a good thing. I mean, yeesh. No thanks.

User avatar
John Cope
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:40 pm
Location: where the simulacrum is true

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#52 Post by John Cope » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:38 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:I don't see any reason, as a viewer, to overlook the fact that this is a deeply callous story (especially if, as the trailer suggests, the moral weight is given to the Noah who keeps people off the boat).
I think that's the potentially really interesting aspect of it. Because, correct me if I'm wrong, don't most other versions of this usually depict Noah building the ark while everybody else just idly makes fun of him (in other words, he is dutiful servent rather than moral crusader)? And don't they usually just continue to make fun of him and ignore him until the fact that the rain won't stop is undeniable? And by that point he's already gone. I'll have to consult the text again and see if that's how it's portrayed in Genesis but I expect it's probably even more vaguely presented there. Now if this winds up being the modern eco-fable that article I posted to suggests, then I would bet more people could accept Noah's moral crusader position, whether they might want to reflect upon that or not.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#53 Post by knives » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:42 pm

I agree that a neutral stance is the best option, but the condemning of the story elements on moral grounds strikes me as being willfully abrasive to storytelling as a metaphor. It's basically as literalitst to me as those evangelicals. This of course depends on how realist Aronofsky is performing the story as a completely fantastical or even surreal approach would certainly null these questions of genocide while a more realist approach would make needing to confront the morality of the situation more essential. I, to be honest, don't care about this generalized modern audience you and Matrix are discussing so their reaction to it is unimportant to me against the text of the film (which is why level of realism is an important component to me). I'm hoping this isn't a Spielberg type lovy dovy thing, but at the same time I see no reason to condemn the story in full for being callous. A film could probably even side with Noah without siding with genocide or whatever. I don't know how, but it probably isn't an impossibility.

Edit: John, the sidewatchers aren't at all mentioned in Genesis so technically Noah's interaction with the populace could have been anything.

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#54 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:54 pm

Unless the trailer's wildly deceptive- which is certainly possible, I suppose- this is a movie that establishes sets of characters in opposition and identifies with one of them. Assuming that's true, moral questions of the righteousness of what the characters we're identifying with absolutely arise, and it's genuinely difficult to imagine a situation where siding with 'killing pretty much everyone as a moral judgment' isn't utterly monstrous. The movie could evade that in a few directions, but at any rate it seems like it's being sold on the assumption that people want to go see a movie where a righteous man tells everyone outside his immediate community they deserve to die, and that's not a terribly pleasant thought.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#55 Post by knives » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:06 am

An other thing this has me thinking of is why does a movie even have to fit my morality? I mean I love Blood for Dracula to death, but it's morally horrible to me far more than some eco reinterpretation of Noah could be. So even if this were a morally dubious film, and I am not getting that feeling yet, that doesn't prevent it from being a good film. Dear lord if I had to morally agree with every film I liked I wouldn't watch movies.

User avatar
jindianajonz
Jindiana Jonz Abrams
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:11 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#56 Post by jindianajonz » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:55 am

Since people here keep bringing up the morality of the story, I think this may be relevant. The Oxford Annotated Study Bible, which is regarded as one of if not the best historical bibles (containing the most accurate translation of the original text and alternate translations, notes on authorship, maps of the areas in question, and all sorts of other great tidbits) has this in the preface to Genesis:
Many who have resolved to read the whole Bible actually have made it through Genesis, but what they find often surprises them. Those who know the stories of Genesis through the lends of later interpretation often assume that the characters in the book are saints. A closer reading reveals otherwise. The supposedly "faithful" Abraham often seems doubtful of God's intent to protect and provide for him, and Jacob and his family are distinguished by their ability to survive in the world through bargaining and trickery. Such stories pose a challenge to those who would use the Bible as a source of role models for ethical behavior.
I would hope that Aranofsky approaches this with the same mindset- that this isn't necessarily supposed to be a model for emulation.

User avatar
captveg
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:28 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#57 Post by captveg » Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:30 am

The story of Noah as told in Genesis also has God promising to not send the flood if people would repent, and this goes on for 120 years with Noah preaching (taking into account the pre-flood long lifespans), so it's not as though they weren't given time (Sodom and Gomorrah has similar efforts to avoid destruction).

In any case, several non-apocryphal texts relate that when the floods came the few who were righteous were, like Enoch and the inhabitants of his city, taken to heaven without tasting death, with only those who rejected God left to perish in the flood. And even then Peter states that Christ preaches to them to bring them salvation during his time among spirits between his death and resurrection.

One can throw the "God committing genocide" argument out there, but it falls apart because to believe in the biblical account is to believe that mortal life is merely one stage on the path of eternal existence, and is therefore not of the same finality that accompanies a viewpoint where there is no afterlife. In other words, it's not strictly genocide in the humanist sense when eternal life is still possible via Christ's atonement and resurrection is assured.

It's also kind of folly to suggest that God only has power over life/death if he sends a mass means of ending life. In a theological sense, if God is omnipotent, then he could have just caused everyone to have heart attacks, or die of food poisoning, or simply die peacefully in their sleep. In other words, the purpose of the flood was multi-faceted, from being a test of faith to Noah in its isolation from normal occurrences, to being a means to symbolize the Earth receiving a water baptism (the baptism of fire/Holy Ghost symbol to come from the calamities prior to the Second Coming), etc.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#58 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:53 am

knives wrote:I agree that a neutral stance is the best option, but the condemning of the story elements on moral grounds strikes me as being willfully abrasive to storytelling as a metaphor.
I don't feel any need, personally, to condemn the story any more than I feel the need to condemn the myth of Niobe's children, which is also amazingly callous. Fables, folks tales, and myth simply don't reflect modern values.
catveg wrote:One can throw the "God committing genocide" argument out there, but it falls apart because to believe in the biblical account is to believe that mortal life is merely one stage on the path of eternal existence, and is therefore not of the same finality that accompanies a viewpoint where there is no afterlife. In other words, it's not strictly genocide in the humanist sense when eternal life is still possible via Christ's atonement and resurrection is assured.
No, god still looks like a big child who wants to take his ball and go home...with the ball being the lives of nearly everyone and everything (eg. the world's first apocalypse). Also, as this story is part of the Torah, unless you're a believing Christian, Christ, the promise of eternal life, and the general Christian refiguration of the Pentateuch shouldn't come into it.
captveg wrote:It's also kind of folly to suggest that God only has power over life/death if he sends a mass means of ending life. In a theological sense, if God is omnipotent, then he could have just caused everyone to have heart attacks, or die of food poisoning, or simply die peacefully in their sleep. In other words, the purpose of the flood was multi-faceted, from being a test of faith to Noah in its isolation from normal occurrences, to being a means to symbolize the Earth receiving a water baptism (the baptism of fire/Holy Ghost symbol to come from the calamities prior to the Second Coming), etc.
Again, ignoring later Christian symbolism and conceptions of god, the only relevant part of this is it being a test of faith, and in that it's callous in much the same way the story of Job is callous, with suffering used to prove a rather dismal point.
captveg wrote:The story of Noah as told in Genesis also has God promising to not send the flood if people would repent, and this goes on for 120 years with Noah preaching (taking into account the pre-flood long lifespans), so it's not as though they weren't given time (Sodom and Gomorrah has similar efforts to avoid destruction).
Kind of a double-standard to test Noah's faith by appearing to him through direct revelation, but then test everyone else's faith by absenting himself and using Noah as a messenger, the least convincing way to spread revelation. Did god think he was going to change minds by sending some crackpot out of the desert to warn of impossible things? Much like when god promised not to kill the first born of Egypt if Pharaoh recanted and then hardened Pharaoh's heart, god is stacking his deck. The god of the Pentateuch is a strange, awful, fascinating character, very far from the benign father-figure he strikes in later Christian stories.

Like a lot of the Greek myths, Norse myths, Grimm's fables, what-have-you, when taken as a fantastical story it's callous and displays a morality quite different from our own. I don't see the point in condemning it for that, but I also don't see the point in trying to overlook it, either.

User avatar
captveg
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:28 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#59 Post by captveg » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:41 am

Well, if it's God's "game", rules, field, and ball He has the stewardship to take that ball home, no? :p

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#60 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:05 am

captveg wrote:Well, if it's God's "game", rules, field, and ball He has the stewardship to take that ball home, no? :p
And boy did he ever.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#61 Post by knives » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:01 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
knives wrote:I agree that a neutral stance is the best option, but the condemning of the story elements on moral grounds strikes me as being willfully abrasive to storytelling as a metaphor.
I don't feel any need, personally, to condemn the story any more than I feel the need to condemn the myth of Niobe's children, which is also amazingly callous. Fables, folks tales, and myth simply don't reflect modern values.
I apologize if it wasn't clear I was addressing Matrix with that sentence. You haven't suggested such.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#62 Post by swo17 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:53 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:the only relevant part of this is it being a test of faith
The flood wasn't meant as a test of faith, but as punishment for a world that had grown irredeemably wicked (following, as has been mentioned, countless warnings and pleas for the people to change their ways). A better analogy than a boy taking his ball home would be Carrie putting an end to the prom.

User avatar
warren oates
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:16 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#63 Post by warren oates » Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:25 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:Kind of a double-standard to test Noah's faith by appearing to him through direct revelation, but then test everyone else's faith by absenting himself and using Noah as a messenger, the least convincing way to spread revelation. Did god think he was going to change minds by sending some crackpot out of the desert to warn of impossible things?
Which is the same twisty reasoning later cult founders have employed to explain why it is they and they alone have access to the revealed truth. It sure is lonely being a prophet. For my money, btw, the best modern take on the Noah story is still Bill Cosby's.

User avatar
bringmesomechemicals
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:21 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#64 Post by bringmesomechemicals » Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:03 pm

captveg wrote:The story of Noah as told in Genesis also has God promising to not send the flood if people would repent, and this goes on for 120 years with Noah preaching (taking into account the pre-flood long lifespans), so it's not as though they weren't given time (Sodom and Gomorrah has similar efforts to avoid destruction).
This is nowhere in Genesis. Instead god seems to have come to the conclusion that all men are evil, excepting righteous, blameless Noah. God then decided to confide that assessment in Noah alone, perhaps during one of their shared perambulations (Genesis 6:9). No chance for repentance, no appeals, and no reprieves, just an epic display of the holotype of what George W. would later call "resolve". Noah is really put in between Ararat and a hard place because the implicit threat here is that if the ark is off by a single cubit or takes on any stowaways, god might just abandon mercy altogether and put paid to Noah & fam. along with all those genetically moribund creature doublets. If Noah wants to see any of the world he has grown accustomed to survive the next 150 days, he knows he'd better toe the mark, and thankfully for us hypothetical descendants, he weren't no Waylon Jennings!

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#65 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:19 pm

swo17 wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:the only relevant part of this is it being a test of faith
The flood wasn't meant as a test of faith, but as punishment for a world that had grown irredeemably wicked (following, as has been mentioned, countless warnings and pleas for the people to change their ways). A better analogy than a boy taking his ball home would be Carrie putting an end to the prom.
That was a direct response to captveg, who pointed it out as one of the elements in it. And, indeed, the god of the old testament is fond of giving difficult commands as a way to test this or that chosen person's faith (Abraham, Job, Jonah, ect.). I'm sure you could find this element in Noah, too.

Hmm. I think god might only resemble Carrie if Carrie invites everyone to the party, tells them they can't leave, tells them how to behave while also supplying them with everything that would make them misbehave, issues further commands through intermediaries no one's going to listen to, gets frustrated that no one's paying her any mind, then kills everybody, children, babies, and innocent parties included because, well, you know.

I submit killing everybody and everything indiscriminately, regardless of the relative weight (or lack of it, in the case of all the babies and children) of anyone's individual crimes, is far more "irredeemably wicked" than whatever humanity was doing at the time--which may have been nothing worse than just refusing to believe in or listen to god. But then I can't be expected to share the mood of ancient Israel where the story was originated (yes, there are earlier flood myths) much as I can't be expected to share the mood of ancient Greece, in which the fitting punishment for Niobe's arrogance in declaring her 14 children better than those of the god, Leto, was to have her children murdered in front of her by Artemis and Apollo. The ethical frameworks are different enough to be alien, and I don't see any reason to play that down.

This is the kind of story you have to play as is. Like many folktales, there is much that is callous and arbitrary about it, not unlike life. Playing it as a moral fable is just going to reveal the clash between modern day morality and ancient morality, and not for the better. Much like, say, 300, all you'll end up doing is glorifying atavistic values that maybe aren't worth reviving.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#66 Post by knives » Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:24 pm

Well it's more gods of the old testament. It's not until Exodus that the bible becomes monotheist in any meaningful way with several gods being seen throughout Genesis. It's more of a sect cult in the early parts saying this god should be treated more highly than other gods. Moses is the one who basically said those other gods are false. That is at least in Judaism. Christians might have something different. So the polytheism of Genesis could change the big baby god status to something closer to Pandora's box.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#67 Post by swo17 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:38 pm

warren oates wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:Kind of a double-standard to test Noah's faith by appearing to him through direct revelation, but then test everyone else's faith by absenting himself and using Noah as a messenger, the least convincing way to spread revelation. Did god think he was going to change minds by sending some crackpot out of the desert to warn of impossible things?
Which is the same twisty reasoning later cult founders have employed to explain why it is they and they alone have access to the revealed truth. It sure is lonely being a prophet.
This is the way God works throughout the scriptures. Personally manifesting to every single person, apart from being a logistical nightmare, would negate the necessity of faith. But so as not to leave everyone completely in the dark, he lets his will be known to select individuals. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." This of course causes the dilemma--how do you know if someone is a prophet just because they say they are? To which there's the old "By their fruits ye shall know them." As in, if you lead your followers into a mass suicide pact, you're probably a false prophet, whereas if you do something impressive enough to make the Bible, you might be the real thing.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#68 Post by knives » Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:41 pm

Though that's a very christian version of things. Questioning is more important than faith in the Jewish religion. Just to give an idea my sister who is studying to be a rabbi just had to write an essay on how the bible suggests Jeremiah may have been schizophrenic.

User avatar
warren oates
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:16 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#69 Post by warren oates » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:14 pm

swo17 wrote: But so as not to leave everyone completely in the dark, he lets his will be known to select individuals. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."
The whole poetics of the mystery of faith and doubt I'll leave to those way above my pay grade like Kierkegaard. But about the "select individuals," it sure is a shame people have to wait until after they're Jonestown mass-suicided or Waco incinerated for that proof that might have been handy years before. The single best thing I've ever read about the prophet problem isn't the work of an academic or a theologian, but popular nonfiction, Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven. The key scene in the book for me is the one where a young Joseph Smith changes his mind about the sorts of revelations other members of his still codifying faith are allowed to have. He'd previously gone all in, suggesting that anyone in his flock might be inspired by the Lord and could speak up with whatever message came forth. The problem was that this very quickly begin seriously eroding his previously unqestioned authority. Members were revelating in open disagreement with his declarations large and small. And so in a new revelation about revelations Smith declared that henceforth anyone could still have their own revelations, provided they were about personal and domestic matters, but that only he would be granted holy truths about the governance, direction and fundamental tenets of the church.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#70 Post by swo17 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:19 pm

warren oates wrote:it sure is a shame people have to wait until after they're Jonestown mass-suicided or Waco incinerated for that proof that might have been handy years before.
Certainly a risk any early adopter takes.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#71 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:38 pm

swo17 wrote:Personally manifesting to every single person, apart from being a logistical nightmare, would negate the necessity of faith.
Oh, that god, always dicking about with circular logic: "Faith is necessary because I don't manifest myself, and I don't manifest myself because faith is necessary."

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#72 Post by knives » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:42 pm

Again, also probably not a god relevant to this film as Aronofsky is Jewish and has yet to show an interest in anything so Christian.

User avatar
captveg
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:28 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#73 Post by captveg » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:49 pm

bringmesomechemicals wrote:
captveg wrote:The story of Noah as told in Genesis also has God promising to not send the flood if people would repent, and this goes on for 120 years with Noah preaching (taking into account the pre-flood long lifespans), so it's not as though they weren't given time (Sodom and Gomorrah has similar efforts to avoid destruction).
This is nowhere in Genesis. Instead god seems to have come to the conclusion that all men are evil, excepting righteous, blameless Noah. God then decided to confide that assessment in Noah alone, perhaps during one of their shared perambulations (Genesis 6:9). No chance for repentance, no appeals, and no reprieves, just an epic display of the holotype of what George W. would later call "resolve". Noah is really put in between Ararat and a hard place because the implicit threat here is that if the ark is off by a single cubit or takes on any stowaways, god might just abandon mercy altogether and put paid to Noah & fam. along with all those genetically moribund creature doublets. If Noah wants to see any of the world he has grown accustomed to survive the next 150 days, he knows he'd better toe the mark, and thankfully for us hypothetical descendants, he weren't no Waylon Jennings!
Apologies. Off the top of my head I forgot that that detail was an insight from the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible, related in Moses 8:19-21.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#74 Post by knives » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:52 pm

No worries, all these variations (even the Hebrew version has a few minor different editions) would drive anyone crazy.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

#75 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:20 pm

knives wrote:No worries, all these variations (even the Hebrew version has a few minor different editions) would drive anyone crazy.
So it'll be interesting so see what variation Aronofsky is using (or even making).

Post Reply