When I ever I read Genesis I am struck by so many things, but this past time reading quickly, one of the things that struck me was the unique stories in the narrative.
These stories are rich, with unique character of all sorts, there is love, romance, aberrant sexuality, some violence, a lot of deception, and family drama. Oh boy, is there family drama.
Genesis on Film: What Exist
Yet, when I think about films that portray any of these narratives, the list of major work is short. It is interesting because in the world of art, these stories have multiple representation, but in film the pickings are slim.
Honestly, the strongest work I can think of is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which is really a Broadway play, but I know there's been film versions or taped stage productions (see Donny Osmond above as Joseph).
There's also the avent-garde Mike Figgis film about Adam & Eve, and his own sexuality that I passed on, called The Loss of Sexual Innocents.
And then there a few Noah stories that are hardly narrative re-creations, Evan Almighty & in Fantasia 2000 the scene to Elgar's Pomp and Circumstances with Donald Duck as Noah.
There's also at least one version of John Milton'sParadise Lost that has been greenlighted for some time, that is set to come out in 2011, directed by Scott Derrickson.
Genesis on Film: What There Could Be
I'm sure there's been other attempts and films that I'm missing...but I think I know there could be something big, something interesting, something dramatic...something that matches the power of Ridley Scott's Gladiator in it's story telling, scope, and style.
I think creation, Adam & Eve, and other Genesis stories would be hard to tell on film.
My two choices for Genesis themed films would be...
1. The story of the Tower of Babel (pictured right is Pieter Bruegel's painting "The Tower of Babel").
The Babel narrative involves the King Nimrod who after the flood and the expansion of the human race begins to develop and empire and desires for people to be together and powerful in one place in stead of spreading out like God intends for his people to do. God punishes these early people by confusing their language.
I think of telling of Babel could be incredible. It could have incredible cinematic style, drama, and the power of a sweeping historical film, never told before with such magnitude.
2. My second choice would be a full blown telling of Jacob. This would include his mother's deception to obtain the birth right and blessing from his father Isaac, stealing it from Esau, with the help of his mother Rebekah, and then the love story of Jacob and Rachel, despite the challenges Rachel & Leah's father Laban places in his way. It could end there with the romance, or continue with his wrestling with God/Angel and the changing of his name to Israel.