This is a haunting question asked by a young woman to an aged earther in the film NOAH. NOAH is about a man with visions and dreams who came to believe that the end of his world was at hand.
As many people know, the antediluvian Noah of the Old Testament book of Genesis was the man chosen by his God to build a great ship to house his family and the animals. A Great Deluge was to come upon the earth to destroy all land life because God regretted creating humans.
From what can be determined the movie is loosely based on the Genesis account. A number of Christian commentators are concerned that the movie deviates from the biblical text.
From my observation, the Noah of the movie is a man tormented by nightmares of the end of his world and he lives in a very hostile society. He is more warrior than preacher. In other words NOAH is an action movie about the end of the world.
Hollywood does an excellent job with these types of films because they skillfully delve into our subconscious primordial fears and memories. Water disasters are especially tuned to our mental make-up.
After conception the human fetus develops in the womb immersed in a sea of amniotic fluid for nine months. After we are born, we have to become land breathers.
To be candid we are fascinated by water because it is our basic composition (approximately 60% by weight). It is essential for human life in order to survive.
Perhaps there is embedded in our chromosomes some ancient memory about water. A great flood account is found in most cultures on this planet traversing the cosmos.
The most famous one outside of the Genesis account is THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH and his quest for immortality. The Sumerian King Gilgamesh goes in search of Utnapishtim, the man chosen by the gods to begin the human race over again after the great flood.
In many ways it is a sad tale. In the end Gilgamesh realizes life is finite and the gods are cruel taskmasters who play with humans like toys to be discarded once they are worn out.
Deep down we all seek answers to the mysteries surrounding us. We behold the world, and it is a place of little solace on our road of life. There are oases where date and fig trees by pools of fresh water refresh our parched souls.
The water motif is a rich vein of ore. It connects us to the past, to the present and the future.
Archetypes of human experience surround us like fog on the moors. We know terrible global events have happened on this planet and will happen again. Perhaps we share a global interconnection of calamities past, present and future. We fear and wonder if there will be a day after tomorrow.
NOAH will tap into these archetypes from the dark recesses of time. Doomed civilizations are part of our heritage. Archeologists have uncovered many ancient civilizations which have thrived on this planet.
Unfortunately, each of these civilizations met their cruel fate. The great ruins of the past testify to our future. The vicissitudes of the past are a portal to see the interplay of forces on our biosphere.
The tragedies of the past remind us that humans tend to be resilient. They pick up the pieces and rebuild.
NOAH is a film. It should be viewed that way and taken at face value like any other action—end of the world—Hollywood production.
Ila’s haunting question to Noah: “Is this the end of everything?”
Noah coolly replied, “The beginning! The beginning of everything!”
In the next post we will visit a Dutch adventurer and his search for the elusive Ark.
G. D. Williams © 2014
NOAH: the Movie