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John Hurt-Richard Burton Movie ‘1984’ to Screen in Theaters on April 4

More than 180 art houses in North America and Europe have scheduled April 4 showings of “1984,” the dystopian drama starring John Hurt and Richard Burton.

“1984” director Michael Radford has agreed to film an introduction and post-screening discussion for the theatrical re-release of “1984,” to play before and after screenings in all participating theaters. The re-release event was first announced in February and the number of theaters participating in the National Event Day screenings has more than doubled since then.

The interview will be produced by Santa Fe-based Atalaya Productions and Austin-based Violet Crown Films. Plans are for Radford to recall stories about the making of the movie while discussing the ways in which George Orwell’s novel — first published in 1949 — has retained its currency.

Hurt portrayed Winston Smith in “1984,” the final film in Burton’s career. Burton died a few months prior to the release and the film is dedicated to him.

The April 4 date was chosen because it is the day that Smith begins rebelling against his oppressive government by keeping a forbidden diary.

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“Orwell’s novel begins with the sentence, ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’ ” the theater owners said in a joint statement issued last month. “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.”

“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,’ ” the statement continues.

“By doing what they do best – showing a movie – the goal is that cinemas can initiate a much-needed community conversation at a time when the existence of facts, and basic human rights are under attack. 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.”

Participating theaters have pledged to  donate 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.

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