Theaters across the U.S. screen ‘1984’ in protest of President Trump

Posted at 11:14 PM, Apr 04, 2017

(CNN/WXMI) — Roughly 200 art-house movie theaters across the country are protesting President Donald Trump by screening the ’80s version of the film “1984” on Tuesday.

Several theaters in Michigan took part in the screenings, including the Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids and Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor.

While a theater protest on a Tuesday may seem random, the date April 4 has significance. It was April 4, 1984, when Winston Smith, the protagonist in George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” began writing in his forbidden diary.

In the 1984 film version of the novel, Smith is played by John Hurt. The film also stars Richard Burton, in one of his final roles.

“Orwell’s portrait of a government that manufactures their own facts, demands total obedience, and demonizes foreign enemies has never been timelier,” organizers of the event wrote on their site.

The event may have started as a national protest, but international theaters joined the cause, scheduling screenings in Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Holland, Croatia and the United Kingdom.

This isn’t the first time interest in “1984” has resurfaced this year.

The novel hit No. 6 on Amazon’s best-seller list in late January after Kellyanne Conway defended Sean Spicer’s claims about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd. Conway called Spicer’s statements “alternative facts” a phrase eerily similar to plot points in “1984.”

Organizers said they hope the international event will help “foster communication and resistance against current efforts to undermine the most basic tenets of our society.”