On April 4, Alamo Drafthouse and a team of 90 other indie movie theaters will be screening the movie adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 starring John Hurt as a protest against the presidency of Donald Trump.
The date was chosen specifically as it’s the same day that Winston Smith, the lead character in 1984, begins to write a diary chronicling the abuses of his oppressive government. Cinemagoers will able to catch a viewing in a total of 79 cities in 34 states. A portion of the proceeds will go to local charities or future educational screening projects.
A group statement released by the collective of theater owners explains why they feel that the film and the book it is based on are more relevant now than ever.
“George’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.”
Most of the theaters participating are independent ventures, with six Alamo Drafthouse locations from Kansas City to New York City making the biggest offering. All of them are united in a common anti-Trump message that condemns the chilling effect they believe the new administration will have on the arts, especially in the face of reports about cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS.
Apart from these blows to funding, the statement also echoed Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech by highlighting another element central to great movies that they feel is under attack: Empathy for other people.
“The endeavor encourages theaters 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.’… 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.”