Often cited as one of the most influential studies in human behavior and social psychology, the Stanford Prison Experiment has spawned numerous films and cultural references over the past four decades. Just this past week, “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” a film based on the events of the study, had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Writer-director Mike Cahill’s sophomore film, “I Origins,” opened on Friday and will continue to play in South Bay cinemas this week. The film centers around Ian (Michael Pitt) and Karen (Brit Marling), both of whom are biology Ph.D. students who study the evolution of the human eye. Ian sees the world in a very rational, scientific way, and the film explores how he opens himself up to and pushes up against spirituality. The film, which explores the debate between science and spirituality, and also very accurately depicts how scientists behave, won the Alfred P. Sloan award for outstanding depiction of science at the Sundance Film Festival. The Daily caught up with Cahill to discuss the science in the film, its characters and how Cahill approaches both writing and directing.