John Hurt passed on January 25th and with him a tremendous body of work worth celebrating. “The Elephant Man” (John Merrick), (Kane) “Alien”, “Harry Potter” (Garrick Ollivander), (Max) “Midnight Express” and two of his most prophetic roles – (Chancelor Sutler) “V for Vendetta” and as (Winston Smith) – in director Michael Radford‘s remarkable film, “1984”.
Nineteen Eighty-Four, also known as 1984, is the British dystopian drama film written for the screen and directed by Michael Radford, based on George Orwell‘s novel of the same name. Starring John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton, and Cyril Cusack, the film follows the life of Winston Smith in Oceania, a country run by a totalitarian government. (Wikipedia)
George Orwell’s terrifying vision comes to 2017.
Winston endures a squalid existence under the constant surveillance of the Thought Police. Winston works in a small office cubicle at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting history (aka Alternate Facts) in accordance with the dictates of the Party and its supreme figurehead, Big Brother. A man haunted by painful memories and restless desires, Winston is an everyman who keeps a secret diary of his private thoughts, thus creating evidence of his thoughtcrime. (Wikipedia)
As a result of his resistance, Winston is tortured and learns about the state’s true purpose, the principles of doublethink — the practice of holding two contradictory thoughts in the mind simultaneously.
Right now our country is rapidly becoming Orwell’s vision of a country co-opted by tyranny. From Alternative Facts to out and out lies about events we witness with our own eyes; the parallels are stunning.
Watching and participating in the Women’s March and rallies, I’m heartened with the energy of this movement of 21-century change.
If the past is prolog, we already know what lies ahead if we aren’t resilient. But, our fate rests in our own hands and we can alter the ending of our “1984″ by fighting back against those who would be Kings and Dictators.
Another brilliant John Hurt performance and cautionary tale “V for Vendetta” stares back at me as truth. Just turn on your television.
Thank you, Sir John for sharing your gifts and revealing truths of the human condition.
Sir John Vincent Hurt (22 January 1940 – 25 January 2017)