Independent and art house movie theaters will be turning back the clocks this April 4, 2017 to screen the film adaptation of 1984. Almost 90 theaters spanning 79 cities in 34 states are showcasing the movie as a form of protest to the President’s reported aim to cut national cultural programs, including eliminating the National Endowment of the Arts.
This is not the only renewed interest in George Orwell’s 1984, which topped Amazon’s bestseller list January. The story centers on Winston Smith, a worker in the Records Departmnet of the Ministry of Truth. His job is to edit and re-write the news, distorting the facts to fit the narratives pushed by the novel’s totalitarian government. As an act of revolt, Smith begins writing a diary, an act punishable by death. These movie theaters are screening the movie on April 4 because that is the date Smith first begins writing his diary.
In a joint statement from the participating theaters, they write:
Orwell’s novel begins with the sentence, “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” 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 statement also adds, “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.”
A full listing of the participating theaters can be found here. Theaters that charge admission will be donating some of the proceeds to local charities and organizations, or to support “underwriting future educational and community-related programming.”