Christians worldwide are fretting over a movie about the biblical story of Noah. The biblical story (Genesis 6-9) is nothing like the fairy tale story of the children books you might know, with fluffy animals and rainbows. In the bible, Noah is a harsh man, who sneaks away to get drunk and blames his child for seeing him on the floor naked. When God decides mankind made a mess of his creation, Noah is the one chosen to select a few creatures to survive the thorn of God. The movie that is in theaters in Holland now is a lot more raw and edgy then the storybook versions we know, but controversy was inevitable. Working with stories from the bible always strikes a nerve. The Dutch newspaper NRC next published an article about this tension between Christians and storytellers in today’s newspaper. Phil Cooke, the theological advisor of the director of the movie, explains a movie is not a sermon. ‘The bible is full of stories of love, war and good against evil. Great material for movies’, he expains.
Rubens and Jordaens understood perfectly how Biblical stories are perfect material for dramatic paintings. In many ways, their interpretation of the story is not much different from their use of mythological stories. Darren Aronofsky, the director of Noah, and Rubens have a lot in common. But it seems Rubens had a lot less criticism from catholic Anvers!