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Here Are The L.A. Theaters Screening '1984' On April 4 To Protest Trump
Remember when the term "dystopian future" was just something you'd run across in reviews of books and movies? Well, we're living in that future now: Twitter has become our most prominent vessel of discourse, eugenics has become an actual talking point for politicians again, and our government has positioned itself as an enemy of our most vulnerable citizens.
It's no surprise, then, that there's been renewed fervor over George Orwell's 1984, that novel about a totalitarian state that's been drained of color and life. The book shot up to number one on Amazon (our biggest bookstore in the dystopian present) during the days surrounding Trump's inauguration, according to Time. It was so popular that Penguin Books ordered a reprint to keep up with demand.
There was also the movie, of course, the Michael Radford-directed piece that, while not exactly a box office smash when it was released, has endured as a work of significance. As with the book, 1984 is finding its way back into the wider consciousness. And on April 4, there'll be a coordinated, nationwide series of screenings of the film, reports The Hollywood Reporter. In L.A., the movie will be screened at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum, Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, the Santa Monica Public Library, and the Art Theatre in Long Beach. Also participating are The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana and the Tristone Palm Desert 10 out in Palm Desert.
The effort is coordinated by both Art House Convergence and United State of Cinema. As the latter org notes on its website, April 4 was chosen because it's the day that Winston Smith, the protagonist played by John Hurt, "begins rebelling against his oppressive government by keeping a forbidden diary." Planners say that over 180 art house theaters across the U.S. (spanning 165 cities and 43 states) have agreed to take part in this action. They also add that participating theaters "that charge admission will be donating a portion of the proceeds to local charities and organizations, or using the proceeds for the purposes of underwriting future educational and community-related programming."
Of course, we can't discuss art house theaters without acknowledging the elephant in the room (one that's blowing its horn and smashing all the furniture). Earlier this month, Trump's administration released a proposed budget that would basically take away all funding from the National Endowment of Arts. As such, the April 4 screenings are not just a protest of the president's policies, but also a reminder that art is in no way a wasteful luxury; it's an essential part of our human existence, and nourishes us in ways that nothing else can.