Monday, October 25, 2021

‘The Circle’ was screened on Thursday in New York City. Here’s what you need to know.

Gallery: The Circle plays Facebook.

Knight Foundation/Instagram The Circle will be played as part of the Cronkite Lecture series. Scroll down for more #CronkiteLaureates.

On the very day The Circle was given its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, members of Facebook and Twitter were given the opportunity to screen it in New York. The social network’s head of global policy, Monika Bickert, watched the film as part of an hour-long dialogue organized by the Knight Foundation at Newsweek’s headquarters. As the dialogue progressed, Bickert admitted that she has never watched the film and questioned the authors on their methodology, calling it “paranoid,” “a lot of paranoia,” and “an expression of hatred.” In a revealing moment, she then described being driven from the protest site for entering “Facebook’s safe zone,” adding that her job is to address those concerns, but that “nobody wants to hear it from me.”

In response, director James Ponsoldt criticized Facebook for its lack of empathy, while CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed why he, too, wouldn’t see the film, which depicts the fallout of a company’s chilling data-collection tactics.

On Thursday, The Circle began to take off on social media, and on Thursday evening, the film screened at multiple New York theaters. There was already much excitement about the movie’s possibilities at its screening at the Boedecker Theater on Wednesday night, with one audience member calling it “the most social film of our generation.” After the film ended, Murphy responded to the film’s already-great buzz and surprised the audience by adding that he hoped it would signal “the beginning of a new groundswell of action.”

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