Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hunger for The Hunger Games

It's more than a little ironic, isn't it? That we die-hard readers and Hunger Games fans are salivating for a screen version  where we finally get to be passive voyeurs of a sadistic world, rather than the co-creators.

Reading makes my imagination work over-time, but watching a movie, particularly one with such epic violence is almost a kind of pornography. A movie is someone else's interpretation of a story, where stuff inevitably gets left out or becomes conflated. But isn't that what writers and artists do?

I finally got to see The HG last night with two other fans: my mother Josephine and my twelve year old, Cooper. It had been hard for me to wait - it had been over three years since I compulsively read the book and I was eager for a different way of experiencing the story. (I didn't read any reviews, but of course my workshops have been buzzing with HG talk since it opened almost three weeks ago.)

Even though I knew what was going to happen, I was still surprised and captivated. I gasped, cried, and even chuckled.

Jennifer Lawrence was spellbinding in last years' Winter's Bone and did not disappoint in her role as Katniss. She had me in tears in the opening scene, comforting her sister Prim. She was perfect as Katniss - I loved her. I wanted to both be her and have her as a sister. I wasn't sure about the casting of Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, but I fell for him quickly, and even though Liam Hemsworth as Gale didn't have as much screen time, I loved him too. I had rolled my eyes at Woody Harrelson playing Haymitch at first but he was spot on, and casting rocker Lenny Kravitz as Cinna was a stroke of genius. The tension building was masterful, the editing superb, and Stanley Tucci almost stole the show as Caesar Flickerman, the Master of Ceremonies, the media whore.

So yes, I loved it.

Gale points out in the beginning of both the book and the movie that the way to stop the Hunger Games, is simply to stop watching them. Our collective gaze does have power, and if we put it in the wrong direction,  we're the suckers.

But we, the audience, can't take our eyes away either. We hunger for a nightmarish version of our world to exorcise our demons and hopefully, society's.

Are we one step away from The Hunger Games?

Love and hope are the opposite of fear. President Snow says they need to be contained, Katniss needs to be contained - she can't give people too much hope lest they are empowered by that very hope. Yet too little hope makes for a very dull society, doesn't it? Ugh.

Is that how "they" get us in our world too?

How many times do we have to hear people say we are what we think? How many times do we need to hear messages of carpe diem? Yet the everyday struggles all of us have are overwhelming. Everywhere we turn we get messages that we're not good enough, smart enough, rich enough. We need to look this way, make this much money, have this many people like us. How do we get out from under?

Katniss. Peeta. Gale. They will save us!

We are what we think. We are what we watch. It informs everything in our world.

No wonder we hunger for an outcome of hope in The Hunger Games.


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  3. The movie is one of my favorite.
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