Cinema: Cautionary Tale Without Cliches 1984

Directed and Written by Michael Radford


As narrative, Nineteen Eighty-Four is simple to the point of banality. Complexities of plot and psychology are, as George Orwell understood, inimical to the cautionary tale. He deliberately cast his main characters--Winston Smith and his lover Julia, the doomed spiritual and sexual revolutionaries opposing the Stalinesque exactions of Oceania--as archetypes of the ordinary. They are a modern Everyman and Everywoman pitilessly propelled forward into a future that seemed all too possible in 1949, when the novel was published. The recent passing of Orwell's prophetic date has not rendered their lives or their fates much less plausible.

What Orwell could not...

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