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Welcome To 1984: Seven dystopian fiction films to help grasp our political climate

 

On Sunday, the Brattle Theatre is presenting a double feature of 1984 and Francois Truffaut’s adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. They’re showing these films to celebrate National Library Week, but on some level they may be showing solidarity with other cinemas likeCoolidge Corner, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk, and some 200 other theaters which screened the former on April 4 as a form of passive resistance against the pseudo-dystopian forces within our own government.

Of course, dystopian fiction doesn’t begin or end with those two films, and we’ve provided a selection of other movies you can watch on your favorite streaming services to further explore the genre. Prepare to be bummed, folks.

 

 

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Metropolis (Netflix/Fandor)

Fritz Lang’s masterpiece debuted in Berlin 21 years prior to the release of Orwell’s novel, both being expressions of their author’s fears about their respective post-war societies, and how easily a country can slide into a totalitarian hellhole. Much of our current dystopian media owes a tremendous debt to Lang, whose visions of a class-strained technologically-advanced society brought Art Deco to the masses and have influenced everything from Chaplin’s Modern Times to Star Wars to Madonna’s “Express Yourself” video. The version on Netflix is the extended version, featuring restored footage from a recovered print of the film found in Argentina (that fascinating story is available to read here), and it’s perhaps the most cohesive version of the film in terms of plot and continuity. If you have a Fandor account, you have the choice between the restored version or Giorgio Moroder’s colorized and ’80s-soundtracked remix. Both are worth your time.

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