Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - On April 4, 1984, in the fictional state of Oceania, a low-level civil servant named Winston Smith begins to write a diary. In the repressive, dystopian world of George Orwell’s novel 1984, where history is constantly erased and rewritten and individual expression is punishable by death, putting pen to paper to explore one’s innermost thoughts is truly a subversive act.
Thirty-three years later to the day, over 220 people filled a local independent arthouse movie theater to watch the 1980s film adaptation of Orwell’s mid-century novel to commemorate the beginning of Smith’s subtle rebellion against a totalitarian government.
As Smith struggled on screen to preserve some semblance of love, empathy, and hope in the face of a brutalizing political regime, the local audience was challenged to ask itself two critical questions: What are the parallels between this fictional 1984 and the real 2017? And how does one ensure that the actual United States government never slips into the suffocating, repressive dystopia of Oceania?