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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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Escape From New York (Netflix)

You know the gist: It’s 1997, Manhattan has become a walled prison island, terrorists shoot down Air Force One over said prison island, and there’s only one dude bad enough to save President Donald Pleasence from evil dudes like Isaac Hayes: Snake fuckin’ Plisskin, perhaps better known as Kurt Russell with a rockin’ hairdo and an eyepatch. John Carpenter brought his A-game to this cult gem, and a great score, a fantastically gritty environment, a stacked cast (Lee Van Cleef! Ernest Borgnine! Adrienne Barbeau! Harry Dean Stanton) and Russell’s understated badassness make this one hell of a great time. It’s considerably lighter fare than a lot on this list, but it’s 99 minutes of pure pulp brilliance. Sure, in a few years we all might have to suffer through a Robert Rodriguez remake of this 1981 classic, but the original will always hold a solid spot in the hearts of nerds everywhere (besides, Carpenter already ruined the first movie by making a shitty sequel, Escape from L.A., so it’s not exactly a sacred cow).

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