A unique film series which is the first of its kind opens in Manchester next month focusing on the roles of science and religion in movies.

The Playing God Film Series will ask new questions about six films, including: why religion beat science in The Exorcist, how religion held back the citizens of Planet of the Apes and why the initial script for The Bride of Frankenstein proved too risky for Hollywood censors.

Organised by The University of Manchester’s Science and Entertainment Lab and funded by the Wellcome Trust, at each of the free screenings an expert speaker will provide a brief introduction before the film and then lead a post-screening discussion with the audience.

The films range from the 1935 cinema classic The Bride of Frankenstein to the original Planet of the Apes, The Exorcist and the 2009 film Creation.

Dr David A Kirby explains the thinking behind the series: “We wanted to look at all six films in a new and different way, asking fresh questions about the content, and challenging audiences to consider the nature of and connections between science and religion.”

The speakers leading each screening range from film makers to theologians. Professor Peter Scott is Head of the Department of Religions & Theology at The University of Manchester:

“I’m interested in any attempt that tries to make more complicated the standard story that says science and theology are opposed—and that in most of the arguments between them science is the winner. The conversation between them ought to be richer and more complex than this. And the film Creation does at least reach for this richness and complexity.”

All six films will be screened at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester city centre, pre-booking is not required.

The films are:

5th March at 18:30: The Bride of Frankenstein, with an introduction by the science studies scholar Dr David A Kirby from The University of Manchester.

19th March at 18:30: The Exorcist, with an introduction by film scholar Professor Mark Jancovich from The University of East Anglia.

16th April at 18:30: Planet of the Apes, with an introduction by science fiction expert Dr Amy C Chambers from The University of Manchester

30th April at 18:00: Solaris, with an introduction by filmmaker Sean

14th May at 18:30: Creation, with an introduction by theologian Professor Peter Scott from The University of Manchester and historian Professor Joe Cain from University College London.

21st May: at 18:30 Altered States, with an introduction by historian Dr William C Macauley from The University of Manchester.


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