A scene from ‘1984,’ Michael Radford’s 1984 film adaptation of the 1949 George Orwell novel. (Umbrella-Rosenblum Films)
George Orwell’s “1984” became a best-seller once again in January 2017, right around the time of President Donald Trump’s inauguration and his counselor Kellyanne Conway’s use of the term “alternative facts.”
The 1949 novel imagines a dystopian society where critical thought is discouraged in favor of “newspeak” and unconditional love of authority in the form of “Big Brother.”
On April 4, more than 180 art house movie theaters, including two in New Jersey, will screen Michael Radford’s 1984 film adaptation of “1984.” The date was chosen to match the “bright cold day in April” at the beginning of the book when protagonist Winston Smith breaks the rules by writing in a diary.
The movie stars John Hurt, who died in January, as Smith, man who rebels against Big Brother.
“Orwell’s portrait of a government that manufactures their own facts, demands total obedience, and demonizes foreign enemies, has never been timelier,” reads an announcement for the screenings. “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.'”
Both the Highland Park Outdoor Movie Theater (Municipal parking lot between Second and Third avenues on Raritan Avenue) in Highland Park, New Jerseyand Landmark Loew’s Jersey in Jersey City (54 Journal Square Plaza) will screen the film on April 4. At the Jersey City screening, which starts at 7:30 p.m., the first 100 attendees will receive free copies of the book from the Jersey City Free Public Library Foundation, and the film will be followed by a panel discussion about “challenges and possibilities facing cultural organizations and the press at this moment in American history.”
Theaters screening the film are donating a portion of ticket sales to charity or using the money to support educational programming. For more information, visit unitedstateofcinema.com
1984 (John Hurt) – Official Trailer