This Is The Best News You Will Hear About Darren Aronofsky’s NOAH
Darren Aronofsky won. After a long fight with Paramount - a fight that included test screening six different cuts of the film - the director's version of Noah will be released in theaters. And his version is one that might make conservative religious types pretty upset.
That's great news for film lovers. Even if Noah ends up being terrible - and I remain worried about some of the over-reliance on CGI I've seen in the trailers - it's going to be terrible in a way that comes specifically from Aronofsky. This won't be a neutered version of his vision; it'll be pure Aronofsky, earning a place in the canon to be dissected, compared and contrasted with his other films. The biggest danger of auteurs moving into blockbusters is that they lose the autonomy that allowed them to make their movies about their personal obsessions; the machine that makes and markets 100+ million dollar movies sands every edge off, trying to get the greatest return on its investment. That's poison for unique voices.
Noah has been getting mixed reviews from church types who have seen it, as it focuses on a dark and driven version of the BIblical character, one Paramount is saying comes from the imagination of Aronofsky. I don't know how true that actually is; Aronofsky has been knee-deep in this project his entire career, and he's researched the story of Noah extensively. The playroom version of Noah as a white-bearded man shepherding pairs of animals on his cute boat doesn't truly represent the strange depths of the story, or the Jewish mysticism that surrounds it. Noah drinks in the new movie, which has apparently caused some concern for those who didn't read Genesis 9:20-25:
And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders and went backwards, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
There was a pretty horrific interpretation of this passage that said the curse of Ham produced black people, and that this was why it was okay to enslave them. In case you didn't have your daily dose of outrage about the historical horrors caused by the Bible.
Aronofsky went into the fllm without a final cut assurance, but he says now that he always knew he would get it. His background in indie film means he's never reshot a scene - he comes from a world where there aren't the resources to do that - so his film was meticulously planned out. "My guys and I were pretty sure that because of the nature of the film and how we work, there wasn't another version," says Aronofsky. "That's what I told them … the scenes were so interconnected -- if you started unwinding scenes, I just knew there would be holes. I showed it to filmmaker friends, and they said the DNA was set in this film."
I love hearing that. Will I love Noah? I hope so, but I'm in wait-and-see mode. But even if I don't love it, even if I hate it, I'll appreciate knowing this is the film Aronofsky wanted to make, not a compromised version.