On Tuesday night, people across the world will be watching Big Brother.
Nearly 200 arthouse theaters worldwide will be screening the big-screen adaptation of George Orwell’s eerily prescient dystopian classic novel, 1984, a cinematic response to the recent rise of authoritarian-leaning politics. The group organizing the event, United State of Cinema, has placed the Michael Radford-directed film, released in 1985, in theaters in 187 American cities; screenings were also scheduled in Canada, England, Sweden, Holland, New Zealand, and Croatia. Many screenings have already sold out.
In a release announcing the event, the group suggested that recent political events have made the story about a lonely man stuck in the machinery of an all-powerful, truth-skewering nation more relevant than ever: “We find ourselves in a time where extremist political parties and unscrupulous national leaders have risen to power through the use of fear, intolerance, and contempt for truth.”
The book, first released in 1949, has “enjoyed” a resurgence in popularity and cultural cachet in the last year, following the election of President Donald Trump in the United States and the UK’s decision to exit the European Union, a campaign driven by far-right politicians.
In January, following Trump’s inauguration, book sprung to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list, and was actually sold out for a time before a massive reprinting.
Meanwhile, a stage adaptation of the book will transfer from London’s West End, where it began its run several years ago, to Broadway. The show, which will begin its American run this summer, will star Olivia Wilde, Tom Sturridge ,and Tony Award-winner Reed Birney.