Nineteen Eighty-Four film

Nineteen Eighty-Four (15)

UK, 1984, Dir. Michael Radford

Festival of the Future City/
Sat 19 October 2019

Nineteen Eighty-Four (15)

UK, 1984, Dir. Michael Radford

Nineteen Eighty-Four film
Sat 19 October 2019,

There have been many film, stage and radio versions of George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The best version was released in 1984. Starring John Hurt as Winston Smith, Suzanna Hamilton as Julia and Richard Burton as O’Brien (the actor’s last screen appearance), it was directed by Michael Radford and produced by Simon Perry. The film follows the story of Smith, a low-level civil servant, as he tries to maintain his grip on reality and find love, while the regime overpowers and persecutes him for individual thinking, politically and personally. Roger Ebert said it ‘penetrates much more deeply into the novel’s heart of darkness’ than previous adaptations and called Hurt ‘the perfect Winston Smith’. At the US premiere, Vincent Canby said the film was ‘admirable, bleakly beautiful’.

Released 35 years ago, the film is pertinent today – as Orwell’s classic book is – in a time of totalitarians, attacks on free thinking, fake news, the rise of populism, two-minute hate and fears for the future of democracy. Following the film, Simon Perry, producer, will discuss Nineteen Eighty-Four with Andrew Kelly, director, Festival of Ideas.

This event is part of a citywide reading project on Nineteen Eighty-Four. We’re giving away 1,000 copies of the book in Festival of the Future City. Register here to be the first to hear about pick-up points. If you’ve read it already, let us know what you think about Orwell and the relevance of Nineteen Eighty-Four today. Send us your thoughts via the contact us section of our website. The best entries win free tickets to this event.

This film is part of Festival of the Future City – an initiative of Festival of Ideas. Festival of the Future City takes place every two years in Bristol celebrating and debating the future of cities with talks, walks, debates, arts projects and new books. The 2019 Festival of the Future City includes classic utopian films about cities; cities in silent cinema; documentaries on New Towns, democracy, the housing crisis and the anthropocene in the series: Cities, Future Cities and Film. We are grateful to BFI for their support for this programme. See the rest of the Festival of the Future City film programme here. Read about other screen adaptations of Nineteen Eighty-Four here.

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Further details of the 2019 Festival of the Future City programme are here.

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