Based on George Orwell’s presciently terrifying novel, the movie by writer-director Michael Radford stars Richard Burton as a villain, Suzanna Hamilton as a romantic, and John Hurt as Winston Smith, a dutiful drone in a totalitarian state, who begins to fathom the depth of his oppression by a government that he always took for granted. The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on April 4 at nearly 200 independent art-house movie theatres across the country and several internationally, with a post-film discussion at the Cinema Arts moderated by Prof. Marty Haas, who teaches American history at Adelphi University. The date of the screening is especially relevant because it was on this day that Smith began his rebellion by making his first entry in his forbidden diary. It’s what Big Brother’s Thought Police would call a “thought crime” because they don’t want anyone thinking independently. Smith’s job at the government’s Ministry of Truth had been to rewrite history, eliminating inconvenient truths and erasing incongruent facts. For some reason, he suddenly woke up.
The arsenal of diabolical methods Orwell envisioned to sustain this nightmarish society re-appears in the campaign playbook of the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party in 2016. While Donald Trump is in the bluster phase—insults, taunts, bullying, harangues—can you imagine a Trump presidency with the gloves off?