Orwell's '1984' back in theaters in stand against 'alternative facts'

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 04, 2017 1:03 PM

By Melissa Fares

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nearly 200 independent movie theaters across the United States on Tuesday will screen the film of George Orwell's "1984" novel about a dystopian future in what organizers say is a stand against U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.

The 1949 book, which returned to the U.S. best-seller list in January, features a "Big Brother" government that spies on its citizens and forces them into "doublethink," or simultaneously accepting contradictory versions of the truth.

Organizers the United State of Cinema said the screenings were arranged 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.'"

The British novel was reprinted in January, decades after it was written, following the Trump administration's defense of "alternative facts," a term White House official Kellyanne Conway used during a dispute over the size of the crowd at Trump's inauguration.

Adam Birnbaum, director of Film Programming for the Avon Theatre Film Center in Stamford, Connecticut, and co-organizer of the event, said Orwell's themes were just as relevant today as they were nearly 70 years ago.

"Our concern is the idea that the only answer is the one coming from the mouthpiece running the (Trump) administration and that there's this effort to sort of snuff out anything but that," Birnbaum said.

The movie, made in 1984 and starring John Hurt and Richard Burton, will be screened in 44 states. It will also be shown at five locations in Canada, one in England, one in Sweden and one in Croatia.

Birnbaum, who will screen the film at the Avon Theatre Film Center on Tuesday, said a number of the theaters have scheduled post-film audience discussions.

"If nothing else, we hope that people will continue to be voices of opposition to some of the practices that are currently being employed by government," he said.

(Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler)