George Orwell’s 1984 has never fully faded from the popular consciousness, so the protracted spike it’s seen in sales over the last couple of years—yes, the resurgence pre-dates Trump’s ascension—isn’t all that surprising. But it’s not just the dystopia that feels pertinent again (or still); Orwell’s doublespeak could very well describe a lot of the nonsense coming out of the White House these days. Which is why the United States of Cinema, in an effort to stem the tide of alternative facts, is planning a nationwide screening of the film adaption of 1984. The Guardian reports that 90 theaters in 79 cities in 34 states will participate in this event, along with one sure-to-be-packed theater in Toronto.
The United State of Cinema touched on the book’s frightening relevance in a statement of resistance.
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.’
Michael Radford’s film, which was released in 1984, starred the late John Hurt as Winston Smith, the narrator/diarist whose written records of the tyranny he lived under would have been considered treasonous. The protest screening will be held on April 4, which is the day Smith begins his diary in Orwell’s book.