SPOILER ALERT: This article contains references to both the book and film titled 1984.
As technology becomes more ubiquitous, and surveillance (both from government and private institutions) becomes more prevalent, George Orwell’s novel 1984 is coming much closer to being a fortune teller than a work of fiction. Now, with President Donald Trump’s White House at war with the press and cooking up their own version of “alternative facts,” it seems as if the world of Orwell’s novel is here.
Over 180 theaters across the United States (and a few in other countries, such as Canada, Sweden, and Britain), will be showing the film version of 1984 on April 4 to serve as commentary on our current political climate.
A statement from the United State of Cinema, the group putting the event together, 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 book 1984 tells the story of Winston Smith (played by John Hurt in the film), a government worker under a totalitarian regime. Winston’s job is to go back through old newspaper articles and rewrite the information therein. This ensures that Big Brother, the figurehead leader of “The Party,” is always correct. As Winston becomes more jaded with the world he lives in, he begins keeping a diary, where he chronicles the tiny ways he is able to resist Big Brother.
The day Winston begins his journal is April 4, the same date of the film screenings.
Both the book and the film 1984 are works of fiction, but Orwell also intended it as a warning for how easily a society can slip into fascist control. Those “alternative facts” of the Trump regime are just regular “facts” to a lot of ignorant people.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot.