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article imageOver 200 theaters to show Orwell's '1984' to protest Trump

By Karen Graham     Apr 3, 2017 in Politics
Nearly 200 theaters worldwide plan to screen the film version of George Orwell's dystopian classic, "1984" simultaneously on Tuesday, April 4 in an international stand against President Donald Trump.
The story of Winston Smith begins on April 4, 1984: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." Smith is a government worker mandated with the task of distorting history and facts, however, he rebels against what he considers a tyrannical government and commits the unspeakable crime of thinking, and writing down his thoughts in a diary.
So it is appropriate that the film is being aired on April 4, "National Screening Day." The idea for the demonstration is the brainchild of Dylan Skolnick, co-director of the Cinema Arts Center on Long Island in New York, and Adam Birnbaum, director of film programming at Connecticut’s Avon Theatre Film Center.
George Orwell  1984. (From the original text  1933).
George Orwell, 1984. (From the original text, 1933).
File:GeoreOrwell.jpg/Author unknown
“In particular, this undermining of the concept of facts and the demonization of foreign enemies [by the Trump administration] really resonate in ‘1984,’” Skolnick told Aljazeera during an interview on Tuesday. Skolnick cites one theme in the book, saying, "There's a central line from the book about the freedom to say that two plus two equals four, even when the government is telling you that two plus two equals five."
And this is where the movie, "1984" begins. Starring John Hurt (Winston Smith) and Richard Burton, the 1985 movie is set in London, Oceania, a city in a totalitarian society dominated by The Party and Big Brother. Many people today draw similarities between the Trump administration and the novel.
From the day Trump took the oath of office, on January 20, the public has been fed a barrage of half-truths and downright lies, and it has gotten to the point that after hearing so many of these "alternative" facts, many people, including the mainstream news media don't even bother to question what has been said, and Skolnick says this is disturbing.
“No one is suggesting that we’re living in Orwell’s world. But the road to that world is people just becoming disengaged and allowing their government to do whatever it wants," Skolnick said.
Kellyanne Conway  a top aide to President Donald Trump  gave Ivanka Trump's clothing a rave rev...
Kellyanne Conway, a top aide to President Donald Trump, gave Ivanka Trump's clothing a rave review during an interview with the Fox network, an apparent breach of ethics rules
Sales of George Orwell's book have soared since Trump took office and with advisor Kellyanne Conway's use of the phrase "alternative facts," it was not difficult to visualize the concept of "doublethink." The April 4 screenings will also include a filmed introduction and post-screening interview with director Michael Radford. He will talk about how the novel remains relevant today.
The movie is being shown in cities in the United States as well as in Canada, the UK, Sweden, and Croatia. Most of the theaters are donating the proceeds from the film to local charities and organizations working on civil rights or other issues that matter in their communities.
And while calling the showing of the film a protest against Trump, it may be more of a discussion starter because that is what is really needed. "This is really designed to get people to be talking and discussing and active in the political conversation that is happening in America right now – and throughout the world, it turns out," says Skolnick.
More about George Orwell, 1984, National Screening Day, political climate, alternative facts
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