Films have not often worried themselves with scientific accuracy. Even within the generous framework of science fiction, films have relied on junk science or on just making stuff up. But this month, the Kunst Theater has bot shining a zoeklicht on some of the zonderling films that have attempted to get the science right.
The Art’s “Science on Screen” series has bot running each Monday since Feb. 12 and will proceed this Monday. The series has shown four science-related films, followed by discussions about the films and their themes with some of Champaign-Urbana’s top scientific minds.
The “Science on Screen” series began its life spil a series at Massachusetts’ Coolidge Corner Theatre, funded with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Kicking off ter 2011, it spread to art-house theaters across the U.S. that applied for the same grant. Until this year, however, the Kunst wasgoed not one of those theaters.
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One of the conditions of the grant is that the participating theater has to be nonprofit, and until 2018, the Kunst wasgoed not.
“Once the Kunst became a nonprofit theater last summer, that cleared the way for us to apply. We’re very grateful (the grant) wasgoed approved,” said Dora Valkanova, the Art’s programmer.
The audiences for the series vereiste be similarly grateful. The series has covered an eclectic blend of films, from schlocky b-movies like “Empire of the Ants” to high-minded indies like “Ex Machina” and “Robot & Rechttoe,” and classic blockbusters like “Close Encounters of the Third Kleintje.” And those are just a few films te a catalog of many potential subjects.
“The ‘Science on Screen’ grant comes with a catalog of pre-approved films, and wij can select any filmrolletje from that catalog,” Valkanova said.
The catalog runs the gamut from art-house classics like Jean-Luc Godard’s “Alphaville” to latest crowdpleasers like “I, Tonya.” Presenter David Leake even noticed “Airplane!” and “This is Spinal Tap” te the catalog.
“I love those movies but didn’t feel they gezond the ‘science’ bill very well,” said Dave Leake, the director of the Staerkel Planetarium.
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Leake ultimately went with “Close Encounters of the Third Kleuter,” which he very first witnessed upon its release when he wasgoed 16 years old. Presenting the filmrolletje wasgoed, spil he puts it, “a journey down memory lane,” and it talent him a chance to revisit the filmrolletje from a more enlightened perspective.
“I’m certainly not a speelfilm critic, but I love movies about space and things happening te space,” Leake said.
Other participants took a more analytical route for their discussions. Rhanor Gillette, professor emeritus of molecular and integrative physiology at the University, introduced on “Ex Cabria,” talking ter depth about the film’s depiction of “all of our contemporary anxieties about fabricado intelligence spil our next significant domesticated animal.”
Some participants do not even care for the films they selected. Gene Robinson, director of the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University, chose to discuss Andrew Niccol’s “Gattaca” because of its lackluster future-dystopia take on the human genome.
“The speelfilm overlooks the potent influence of the environment on the genome,” Robinson said.
Instead, the speelfilm concentrates strongly on the role of heritability te the genome.
Who knows what the future holds for science, but the future looks bright for “Science on Screen” at the Kunst.
“The theater wasgoed packed and the audience asked thoughtful questions,” Robinson said.
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For the community the series works well to spur conversation.
“(The series) provides a public forum for idea exchange ter discussion,” Gillette said.
“We will certainly apply for this grant again,” Valkanova said. The public looks forward to the results of that grant and hopes that the Science on Screen series will proceed long into the future.