Film critic's notebook
• The After Hours Film Society presents Clio Barnard's "The Selfish Giant" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 14, at the Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove. Tickets cost $9 ($5 members). Go to afterhoursfilmsociety.com. Heads up! Because of Memorial Day, After Hours will show "The Missing Picture" on May 19 instead of May 26.
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• Sixteen hours worth of Sci-Fi Marathon hits this weekend at the Patio Theater, 6008 Irving Park Road, Chicago, starting at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, April 12, with the "Hush" episode of "Buffy the Vampire Killer" with in-person star Doug Jones. Also up: the silent classic "A Trip to the Moon" followed by "King Kong vs. Godzilla," "Legend," "Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension," plus others. Tickets cost $20, $25 at the door. Go to brownpapertickets.com.
Dear Dann: Your column and capsule review refer to "Noah" as a "biblical drama" and "biblical epic," respectively. You also ask, "What's up with the depiction of Adam and Eve as ambulatory yellow glow sticks?" It becomes easier to understand once you realize that, at its heart, the movie has nothing to do with the Bible.
Yes, there's a guy named Noah, and he builds an ark to save his family and animals from a coming flood, but the similarities end there. So trying to reconcile the movie with any normal understanding of the Bible only leads to confusion.
I think the movie is best understood as being influenced by the Kabbalah, a Jewish Gnostic teaching (as opposed to the Gnostics referenced in the New Testament), with some Hollywood artistic license thrown in. I went to see the movie having heard that it was not biblical, but I was hoping to at least see a good "earth gets destroyed" movie.
But even that was disappointing.
Then I learned about the Kabbalah influence this week, after I'd seen the movie. It explains Adam and Eve's "glow" -- they didn't have physical bodies until after they ate the fruit. It explains why no one ever says "God," only "the creator."
I, like most people, assumed that "the creator" simply referred to "God," but in the Kabbalah, the creator is a "lower god," who creates the world.
I hope you'll see "God is Not Dead." Out of "Son of God," "Noah" and "God is Not Dead," it was clearly the best, not a simple "just trust in Jesus and everything will be fine" movie. -- John Greer, Arlington Heights
Dear John: Many thanks for your insights. I agree on your disappointment with "Noah" as biblical entertainment. It does makes sense that Adam and Eve would undergo some degree of transformation following the apple incident.
I have no problem with Darren Aronofsky utilizing artistic license in telling and filling out Noah's story. But his choices -- the glow-stick characters and the Watchers depicted as Transformers from "The Flintstones" -- struck me as so comical, they undermined the dramatic integrity of the movie for me. Thanks for writing. -- Dann
• Dann Gire's Reel Life column runs Fridays in Time out!