“Cinema has a lot to teach us about the world – if we’re willing to pay attention.
Select independent cinemas in the US will be screening 1984 in protest of Donald Trump, specifically his alleged proposed cuts on cultural institutions, including the entire elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts.
The film – which stars the late John Hurt – adapts George Orwell’s iconic 1949 novel, which tells the story of a dystopian world marked by perpetual war and constant surveillance, controlled by a privileged elite who seeks to persecute individualism and independent thought. A dictatorship overseen by Big Brother, bastioned by a cult of personality, though he may not even exist.
Winston Smith works for the propaganda branch of the Ministry of Truth, tasked with rewriting newspaper articles so they always read in support of the party, or destroying documents to remove evidence the government is lying. Any of this sound familiar?
90 cinemas – including leading US locations Alamo Drafthouse, IFC Center, and Film Society of Lincoln Center – will screen the film on 4 April, the date in which Winston rebels against Big Brother by starting a diary, an act punishable by death.
“Orwell’s novel begins with the sentence, ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,'” reads a statment on the project’s website. “Less than one month into the new presidential administration, theater owners collectively believe the clock is already striking thirteen. 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 screening also follows a huge spike in sales of the book, specifically in the light of Kellyanne Conway’s use of the term “alternative facts”, which is eerily similar to the “newspeak” referred to in the book.
A portion of admission charges will be donated to local charities and organisations. You can find out more here.”
Even impetuous, collective tantrums can turn a profit for someone if marketed properly.