Movie Theaters To Screen 1984 In Protest Of Trump

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.

In January, the book rose to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list which prompted the publisher Penguin to issue a reprint of 75,000 copies.

Here’s Why George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Is Currently The Bestselling Book On Amazon

When novelists write dystopian literature, their sentences both hint at and exaggerate a state of their current reality. In some cases, they are a what if? played out, extending trends these writers fear might spell doom. But what happens when those fictional nightmares seemingly become current reality?

Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to President Donald Trump, reflected that possibility after offering the distinction of “alternative facts.” Conway uttered this phrase when questioned regarding Trump’s record attendance numbers at his inauguration.

The idea of “alternative facts,” it seems, reminds many of George Orwell’s classic 1984, which has sits atop Amazon’s bestseller list following Trump’s inauguration and Conway’s phrasing. 1984 features “newspeak,” a type of propaganda that clouds facts and distorts any sense of foundational truth through mixed messaging and overwhelming surveillance.

Via CNN Money:

We put through a 75,000 copy reprint this week. That is a substantial reprint and larger than our typical reprint for 1984,” a Penguin spokesman told CNNMoney Tuesday evening.

[…]

According to Nielsen BookScan, which measures most but not all book sales in the United States, “1984” sold 47,000 copies in print since Election Day in November. That is up from 36,000 copies over the same period the prior year.

Two other editions of 1984 are in the bestseller list, though Orwell is not the only author whose work has seen a recent resurgence. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, another dystopic society where truth is obscured, and Upton Sinclair’s It Can’t Happen Here, which involves the election of an authoritarian president, have entered the top 100 of Amazon’s bestseller list.

Other novels to jump into the bestseller list since Trump’s inauguration: Orwell’s Animal Farm, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism.