More than one hundred movie theaters across the U.S. will screen George Orwell’s “1984” on April 4 in protest of the Trump administration. The organizers chose this date because Winston Smith, the main character in the book — which is officially entitled “Nineteen Eight-Four” — starts writing a forbidden diary, which is viewed in the novel as a significant act of resistance.
“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,” The United State of Cinema, the event’s sponsors, wrote in a statement. “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.”
Theaters in 79 U.S. cities and 34 states, including three in Canada, will screen the film, including New York’s IFC Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center, and Arizona’s Alamo Drafthouse.
The protest is also intended as a show of support for the National Endowment for the Arts, which is included in President Donald Trump’s list of targets for funding cuts to curb domestic spending. “Any attempt to scuttle that program as an attack on free speech and creative expression through entertainment,” the organizers said.
Orwell’s dystopian classic from 1949 about resisting an oppressive government regained popularity after Trump became president for its parallels with the current administration. Sales of the book surged again after presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway’s statement about “alternative facts,” a term that is echoed in the book’s concept of “newspeak” where political thought is eliminated, and “double speak”, the ability to hold two truths at once.