A CHURCH in Leamington is to screen Monty Python’s Life of Brian which was accused of being blasphemous on its release over 35 years ago.
But the congregation of All Saints Church says they are not ‘outraged’ at plans to screen the movie despite national media claims to the contrary. The Friends of All Saints Church, which helped plan the event along with Leamington Underground Cinema, say there has been no backlash from the congregation.
Beth Osborne, Secretary of the Friends group, told the Observer: “It is controversial, we accept that. But we have some very outspoken congregation and not a single one has said anything to us, and they would have if there was an issue about it. In fact everyone seems to be looking forward to it.
“For quite a while we have been trying to raise money for the church as we want to preserve the building for our children and grandchildren. There needs to be lots of ‘out of the box’ thinking to help do this. Last week we showed Blues Brothers and it was a sell-out.”
The screening of Python’s film – which was banned in several countries – will help raise much needed funds for repairs to the Gothic church.
When The Life of Brian – starring John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, and Graham Chapman as Christ figure Brian – was released in 1979 it was branded blasphemous and anti-Christian in countries across the world.
And at the UK premiere, church-goers stood outside and sang hymns in protest at the film which follows the fortunes of Jewish man Brian who becomes an unlikely Messiah.
But All Saints vicar Father Christopher Wilson believes the religious satire says times have changed and sees the evening as simply an ideal opportunity to raise funds.
He said: “The Life of Brian caused upset when it was released almost 40 years ago. Most of us have grown up since then.
“We’ve learned to laugh at ourselves and to understand the difference between faith and the foibles of human nature which are so humorously depicted in the film.
“As we observe Brian’s escapades, two things in particular stand out for me – firstly, the importance of thinking things through rather than just going along with the crowd, and secondly, striving always to ‘look on the bright side of life’.
“We’re hoping people will come along to enjoy an evening out, and we won’t be preaching to them.
“But if watching the film encourages anyone to pick up a bible and understand the huge difference between Brian and Jesus, we’d be delighted.
“‘After the sell-out success of the Blues Brothers screening, we’re looking forward immensely to the Life of Brian. Although it caused a stir when it was first released, most of us nowadays are more relaxed, able to enjoy the humour, and if any of it is directed against us, to laugh at ourselves and learn from it.
Adrian Gains, chair of the Friends group, was looking forward to the evening.
He added: “This is one of the funniest films ever made and it is fantastic that the church has agreed to show it. It says a lot about how attitudes have changed over the years.
“The church used to be the heart of the community and there is no reason why it can’t be again. We hope this will inspire others to think creatively about how to make this happen and save the church for future generations.”
The screening, on Saturday May 28, starts at 7.30pm, and will be supported by ‘Music You Don’t Normally Heard Played on a Church Organ’. A bar will also be available.
Tickets cost £10. Visit leamingtonundergroundcinema.wordpress.com to book.