“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” So begins the story of an unlikely revolutionary: the doomed hero of George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984. On April 4, 2017, the Jersey City Free Public Library (JCFPL) and the Friends of the Loew’s (FOL) teamed up to present a screening of the film adaptation of Orwell’s novel at the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre. When the film was released in its namesake year of 1984, the story of everyman Winston Smith – and his “thoughtcrimes” against the totalitarian state – had for a generation been a symbol of resistance against censorship, surveillance, and unquestioning submission to authority.
The JCFPL and FOL joint screening was part of a nationwide event on April 4, with over 200 independent and art house cinemas presenting the film in honor of the first date inscribed in Winston Smith’s diary: April 4, 1984. The goal of the national event was to raise awareness and advocate for freedom of expression, particularly in support of the National Endowment for the Arts and other federally funded programs, such as the Institute of Museum and Library Services. We were also very proud to distribute 100 free copies of the novel to the first guests who arrived, compliments of the Jersey City Free Public Library Foundation.
We are grateful to the more than 500 community members who joined us for this screening in support of the Library and the Loew’s, and the many who stayed after the film for a compelling and thought-provoking panel discussion with local community leaders from the arts, the press, and the Library. The panel, moderated by Colin Egan of the Loew’s, included: John Beekman, Assistant Manager of the Library’s New Jersey Room; Christine Goodman, founder of Art House Productions; Patrick Villanova, City Editor at the Jersey Journal; and Alex Martinez, a teacher at the Jersey City Arts High School.
The funds and the awareness raised by this event will support two of our prized local institutions: the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre, which is one of the finest surviving movie palaces in the country; as well as the Jersey City Free Public Library, which provides critical access and services to so many who need it in our community.
Please enjoy these photos of the event, and stay tuned to this page for more photos coming soon!