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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Protest Screenings of 1984

If you live in any of 187 American or 4 Canadian cities (or England or Sweden or Croatia or The Netherlands or New Zealand), you might want to go out and see a movie tonight.  Theatres in these cities will be screening Michael Radford's adaptation of George Orwell's dystopian classic 1984 in protest of Donald Trump. 

Radford's adaptation was released, fittingly, in 1984, and stars John Hurt as Winston Smith.  The movie follows Smith as he navigates a dystopian world overcome by war and under surveillance by Big Brother.  Independent thought is outlawed and individuality is condemned.  While working in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth, rewriting history, Winston, as a way of rebelling, decides to keep a diary, an act punishable by death.  The April 4th event date is a nod to the date Smith begins his journal with the following sentence:  “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

A joint statement on behalf of the participating theatres reads, “Orwell's portrait of a government that manufactures their own facts, demands total obedience, and demonizes foreign enemies, has never been timelier. The endeavor encourages theaters to take a stand for our most basic values: freedom of speech, respect for our fellow human beings, and the simple truth that there are no such things as 'alternative facts.' By doing what they do best - showing a movie - the goal is that cinemas can initiate a much-needed community conversation at a time when the existence of facts, and basic human rights are under attack. Through nationwide participation and strength in numbers, these screenings are intended to galvanize people at the crossroads of cinema and community, and bring us together to foster communication and resistance against current efforts to undermine the most basic tenets of our society."

The protest screening is also aimed at Trump’s alleged proposed cuts on cultural programs which are seen as “an attack on free speech and creative expression through entertainment.”

To find out which theatres in which cities are screening the film, go to http://www.unitedstateofcinema.com/.