The Hunger Games returns to cinemas. Without Jennifer Lawrence this time. The fifth part of the dystopian franchise where teenagers must kill each other in an arena hopes to conquer the box office from Wednesday November 15, going back to the origins of evil.
In The Hunger Games: The Ballad of the Serpent and the Songbird, fans will discover the origins of the dictator Coriolanus Snow and the cruel games that mark the life of Panem, where the law of the strongest reigns. Those who do not know this nightmarish dictatorship, inspired by the loaves and games of Antiquity, the entertainment society and the contemporary rise of populism, will discover this dystopia taken from the novels of the author Suzanne Collins (100 million copies sold).
“It’s not about reserving dishes or just organizing new games. It’s a brand new story about a young man’s descent into hell,” the director of this film and the three previous ones, Francis Lawrence, explained to AFP. Coming from a fallen aristocratic family, Snow “is torn philosophically, while trying to survive. We kind of watch him descend into darkness,” he continued.
Also read The Ballad of the Serpent and the Songbird by Suzanne Collins: America of the Future?
For this “prequel”, a film which goes back to the origins of a franchise, the star of Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence, aka Katniss Everdeen, had to hand over the reins. The role of young Coriolanus Snow is entrusted to a new British face, Tom Blyth, alongside Rachel Zegler, who cut her teeth in Hollywood as Maria for Spielberg's remake of West Side Story and will play next year Snow White in the new version, filmed, planned by Disney.
The actress of Colombian origin plays a “tribute”, one of the children thrown into the arena of the “Hunger Games”. The survival of this young girl deprived of everything except an enchanting voice will depend on an unholy alliance with Snow. Deprived of Jennifer Lawrence, this new opus can still count on other familiar faces in the role of villains, Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage. Based on a premise reminiscent of the ultra-violent Battle Royale (2000) or the South Korean series Squid Game, one of Netflix's biggest successes, The Hunger Games seduces: the universe of Panem brought in more than three billion dollars in the world.
Its influence has extended beyond teen literature and cinema: the salute with three fingers in the air, inspired by films, has become a rallying sign for opponents of the military junta which took power in Burma in early 2021. Previously , pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and activists challenging royal authority in Thailand had also appropriated it. With The Hunger Games, “we return to the Greeks and the Romans, we return to the Colosseum and to the idea of circuses and games, to going into arenas to contemplate violence,” analyzes the director. “There's just something horrible about humanity, wanting to be excited and amused by violent things. It’s intriguing,” he continues.
If the film can be trying, the images spare the viewer, and this Hunger Games remains classified “all audiences”, without age restrictions, for its French release. “I kind of always tried to focus on the emotional impact caused by the violence, and not the blood or gore,” the director explained.