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Sex and the City of God at QFT

Journalist and broadcaster William Crawley has curated a season of films, entitled "Sex and the City of God", which will screen at QFT from Friday 13 – Thursday 19 August.

Introducing the season, William Crawley said:

“It is impossible to select a week of films without nodding to my own preoccupations, passions and obsessions, which do seem to overlap with those of many other people. You don't need to look too closely to find God, sexuality, science, and the values that shape our relationships, while New York - a magical terrain for me - loudly proclaims its presence on the list.”

The season opens on Friday 13 August with Inherit the Wind, which tells the true story of the "The Trial of the Century", when a school teacher was taken to court in Tennessee, in 1925, for daring to teach Darwin's ideas in a biology classroom.

While the film is 50 years old and the story itself even older, the debate about creationism and evolutionism continues today.  The film is given further local resonance as it quotes the work of James Ussher, the 17th century Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland who purported to establish the time and date of the creation as the night preceding 23 October 4004 BC.  The screening will be followed by a  discussion on Creationism v Darwinism, chaired by William Crawley.

Serious questions about how we love and seek love are asked in the comedy Shortbus (Saturday 14 August). Director John Cameron Mitchell says sex is the funniest aspect of human experience. It's also one of the strangest, most revealing, most intimidating, most liberating, and most defining aspects of our experience.

While modern audiences watching The Ten Commandments (Sunday 15 August) may impose their own sense of postmodern irony to Charlton Heston's portrayal of Moses, Cecil B. DeMille's take on the Decalogue was extremely influential in shaping the religious values of an entire generation of American, and Western, cinema-goers.

Part memoir, part film collage, part essay on emerging self-consciousness, Jonathan Caouette's autobiographical documentary Tarnation (Monday 16 August) is made up of old Super 8 footage, photographs and dispersed audio gathered over a period of twenty years, then edited using free online software, at a cost of just £218. The narrative is driven by Caouette's attempt to make sense of himself, as a person and as an artist, his mother, who struggles with mental illness, and his emerging sexuality.

Martin Sherman wrote the screenplay for Bent (Tuesday 17 August), based on his 1979 play of the same name about the persecution of gay people by the Nazis.  Instead of trying to capture the evil perpetrated by the Nazis against gay people as a group, Sherman offers us a close-up of evil in the experience of one couple. Add to that a score by Philip Glass, faultless performances by Clive Owen, Lothaire Bluteau, Ian McKellen and Brian Webber, and Sean Mathias's sensitive direction, and you have a quite remarkable essay on evil, love, and self-acceptance in the face of both.

A film about the creation of religious art becomes itself a work of art that is profoundly religious in Andrei Rublev (Wednesday 18 August).  The film is not merely a narration of the life and work of Andrei Rublev, the 15th century Russian icon painter who founded a school of art within the Orthodox tradition of Christian spirituality, but a poetic conversation between the spirit of that artist and the director, Andrei Tarkovsky, that unfolds like a meditation.

Hailed by many critics as the greatest theatrical-release documentary ever made, Man on Wire (Thursday 19 August) follows a man's obsession with height as it becomes a parable about transcendence.  It unfolds like a crime thriller, a heist movie, as Philippe Petit, a young French tightrope walker, tries to pull off the walk of the century on an illegally rigged wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

Tickets for the "Sex and the City of God" season are £6/£5 per film and are available to book online at


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