To the surprise of absolutely no-one, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah has caused a bit of controversy upon its release, with the film banned in several countries in the Middle East on the grounds that it violates Islam. The UAE, Qatar and Bahrain have all banned the film, along with Indonesia, because it violates a central tenet of Islam, that it is forbidden to depict a prophet, which is what Noah is seen as within Islam.

Of course, the bigger concern for Paramount, the studio behind the $125 million epic, is the domestic market, and much of their promotional efforts have been targeted at getting Christian audiences on board with the film. With that in mind, they recently added a disclaimer to their 
promotion materials:

“The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.”

What’s really fascinating, however, is the fact that according to  Paramount’s Rob Moore, many of the complaints from Christian test audiences were based on their own poor understanding and memories of the original biblical story. He said that in some cases, “people had recollections of the story that weren’t actually correct.”

Particularly problematic was a scene in which Noah, after returning to dry land after the flood, gets drunk alone in a cave. That’s lifted straight from the Bible, “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. The result? A lot of very angry Christians at test screenings, and no obvious way to fix it.

So as you see controversies bubble up around the film as it hits cinemas, bear in mind that some of the most supposedly  blasphemous bits might just be straight from Genesis.

To the surprise of absolutely no-one, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah has caused a bit of controversy upon its release, with the film banned in several countries in the Middle East on the grounds that it violates Islam. The UAE, Qatar and Bahrain have all banned the film, along with Indonesia, because it violates a central tenet of Islam, that it is forbidden to depict a prophet, which is what Noah is seen as within Islam.

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Of course, the bigger concern for Paramount, the studio behind the $125 million epic, is the domestic market, and much of their promotional efforts have been targeted at getting Christian audiences on board with the film. With that in mind, they recently added a disclaimer to their promotion materials:

“The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.”

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What’s really fascinating, however, is the fact that according to Paramount’s Rob Moore, many of the complaints from Christian test audiences were based on their own poor understanding and memories of the original biblical story. He said that in some cases, “people had recollections of the story that weren’t actually correct.”

Particularly problematic was a scene in which Noah, after returning to dry land after the flood, gets drunk alone in a cave. That’s lifted straight from the Bible, “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. The result? A lot of very angry Christians at test screenings, and no obvious way to fix it.

So as you see controversies bubble up around the film as it hits cinemas, bear in mind that some of the most supposedly blasphemous bits might just be straight from Genesis.

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