Darren Aronofsky’s Noah was one of 2014’s most polarizing movies. Some embraced it as an art-house, biblical blockbuster that managed to tell one of the most famous stories ever told in a fresh and surprising manner. Others were simply offended that it ever got made. So much so in fact that Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Indonesia all banned it from being released because it violated Islamic law by depicting a prophet. But obviously ISIS saw something they liked in the film, because they’re using images from it in their newsletter.

Aronofksy made this revelation himself during a chat at New York City’s New Museum on Tuesday night, where he was being honored with the institution’s 2014 Stuart Regen Visionary award. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the director explained:
"I don’t think anyone’s gonna use [Noah] to recruit people to become true believers, that’s definitely not the message of the film. … but I just found out ISIS in their newsletter is using imagery from my movie to make a point, which is hilarious because we were banned from so many Muslim countries! If they actually knew the source of the material!"

The celebrated filmmaker, whose extraordinary career has so far seen him direct the likes of Pi, The Wrestler, The Fountain, Requiem For A Dream, and Black Swan, also candidly discussed the reason why he took on the project, before expanding on the discussions that erupted over the film’s message. "There is more power in accepting these old books as mythology," he declared, "instead of fighting over, did it really happen? We were trying to recapture these stories away from true believers and say they are our stories, just how you look at Ulysses and The Odyssey; they belong to the world. I tried as hard as possible to stay away from literalism. … Whether it’s ISIS or the heartland here, … let's leave that behind and look at the lessons here, but we don’t have to live exactly by the word."



With Noah, Aronofsky created one of the most visually striking, brazen and unique studio movies of recent years, and while it’s not completely perfect, its ambition and ambiguity more than makes up for its flaws. It’s been well documented that he had a rather intense sparring match with Paramount over the final cut of the film, and it’s refreshing that Aronofsky was able to be victorious in this creative duel. When his version of the picture made it to multiplexes it was eventually met with mostly positive reviews and an impressive box-office return that means one of the most-gifted modern filmmakers in the world now has a wide berth when it comes to selecting his next project. I for one can’t wait to see what he chooses to do.

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