Lent Course 2023 - Deliver us from Evil

A Lent Course, based around five major films, each with an introduction and opportunity for discussion. These are films that, in different ways, look into the darkness of world and ask how we, Christian or not, address that darkness, attempting to understand and indeed confront it.

1st MARCH: The Life of Pi (directed by Ang Lee: 2012) explores, in glorious technicolour, questions of natural and moral evil through their common connection with violence: Pi, the only human survivor of a shipwreck, is in a life-boat with Richard Parker, a tiger. It is a vivid and exciting narrative with a first sight of the perspectives and problems of evil we need to be able to recognise and engage with – as humans, as people of faith, and as Christians.

8th MARCH: I Daniel Blake (directed by Ken Loach: 2016). One man’s poignant struggle with the welfare system of the consumer society, the unwitting cruelties of which finally kill him. The word ‘evil’ is never mentioned, but our unconscious complicity in manifest evil is challenged by its Christlike hero. What is gained, what may be lost, by our discovery of ‘systemic evil’?

15th MARCH: Lord of the Flies (directed by Peter Brook: 1963): Adapted from the novel by Nobel prize-winner, William Golding, this 20th century parable of a group of English Prep school boys abandoned on the wake of a nuclear war on a tropical island, shows things falling apart with apocalyptic effect; the loss of childhood ‘innocence’, ‘the darkness of man’s heart’ and ‘the fall’. ‘Evil’ is situated in our own time: at the threshold of an apparently post-Christian culture and civilisation.

22nd MARCH: Sophie Scholl: the Last Days. (directed by Marc Rothemund: 2005) Gripping and deeply moving account of German student resistance to the Nazi State in 1943. It is a powerful exploration of political power as a contagion of evil, confronted by suffering and martyrdom – all raised by ‘Christlike’ allusions developed around the key-figure of Sophie.

29th MARCH: Shadowlands (directed by Richard Attenborough: 1993) With Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger, drawn from the autobiographical books Surprised by Joy and A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis who, in the death of his beloved wife, faced the ‘last enemy’, death. Lewis’s treatment of the major questions of this Lenten course, The Problem of Pain, will be used (sometimes critically) throughout, to launch the theme of evil and deliverance from it.

This Lent-long menu of first-rate films will be shown on Wednesday evenings, with opportunities for online (and, on request, some ‘in person)’ discussion on early Sunday evenings..

The films will be shown at 7.00 pm in the Sixth Form Common Room in King Edward VI School. Entry is through the arch on Chapel Street. Parking is allowed on the school quadrangle