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Earning, until then, more than US$ 2,3 billion, the saga Hunger Games returns to cinemas eight years after its end (2015), now with The Song of Birds and Serpents. The film is scheduled to premiere in theaters on November 15, 2023. Directed by Francis Lawrence, which commanded all the other films from The Hunger Games: On Fire, the new film promises to be even bolder. The adaptation will tell the origin story of Katniss Everdeen's antagonist, known as President Snow.
The plot takes place 64 years before the main universe, with a young Coriolanus Snow ready for his opportunity for glory as a mentor for the Games. It's a unique chance to save his legacy, but luck is not in his favor. Snow is chosen as the trainer of a tribute girl from District 12, the worst of the worst. Thus, it becomes your duty to charm, deceive and manipulate your colleagues to transform Lucy Gray, your tribute, into a winner in the deadly arena of the tenth edition of the Hunger Games.
Panem's origin story
A Song of Birds and Serpents It has an official duration of 2h36 minutes, making it the longest in the franchise. And, as many years pass before the already well-known 74th edition of the Hunger Games, the story will reveal details about the first 10 years of Panem and its brutal reality show.
However, the Games were not always meant to be a spectacle. What is known from other films – and books, is that after a Planet Earth full of catastrophes and natural disasters, a new society was created in ancient North America, called Lord. The name, from Latin, is a deliberate assimilation of the famous saying “Bread and Circuses”. In the Roman capital, there was a food and entertainment strategy, in which small amounts of food, such as bread and grains, were distributed at no cost to citizens. And gladiator shows were organized in public stadiums as a way to distract the people and prevent them from rebelling against issues such as unemployment and other social dilemmas.
Panem was divided into 13 districts, each of which had an economic function of creating and delivering subsidies for survival and development. The districts closest to the Capital were the most luxurious and, as the distance increased, so did poverty, reaching the least developed districts, such as 11 and 12. However, the Capital did not distribute wealth equally, which caused a revolt against the headquarters of the Nation, which began to starve as it no longer received production from each district. This period was called Dark Days.
During this time, a disorganization of the entire system caused widespread chaos. Including, Nina Jacobson, the film's producer, recently commented in an interview that this will be the opening scene of The Song.
[…] the film begins with an image of when Coriolanus was a child and people are literally starving and doing whatever is necessary to survive during the war. It is an essential part of who he is and who he becomes. Nina Jacobson, producer of the film.
The end of the Dark Days happened as soon as the Capital raised all its war armaments, winning the war against the districts and, thus, creating the Hunger Games as a reminder that rebellions have consequences.
Furthermore, the author's basis of inspiration for creating the entire context of the Dark Days was based on real events, the post-Civil War period in the United States and also the post-Second World War period in Europe.
“People trying to rebuild, live day to day amid the rubble. The challenges of food shortages, damaged infrastructure, confusion about how to proceed in times of peace. Relief at the end of the war combined with bitterness towards the wartime enemy. The need to place blame.”Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games books.
The tenth edition of the Hunger Games
The concept of The Hunger Games came from Casca Highbottom's idea. The actor Peter Dinklage brings the character, famous for the series, to life Game of Thrones. Each year, a boy and girl aged 12 to 18 from each district would be drawn to fight in the arena to the death, with only one winning.
However, initially, the intention was not for the Games to become a “Bread and Circus” reality show. Back then, teenagers brutally attacking each other wasn't glamorous. Public reception was practically negative. Even for some citizens of the Capital, who doubted the success and origin of all that.
From the 10th edition onwards, everything changed. You Hunger Games took on an entertainment tone, with mentors, sponsors, presenter, tribute parade and more. And that's what The Song of Birds and Serpents will explore, with the rise of Snow.
Are we fundamentally good if we are left to our own devices? Are we fundamentally evil and need the State to keep us in check or will we destroy each other? These ideas about how people perceive each other and government seemed incredibly timely. And doing it through Coriolanus Snow, someone we've all hated for the last four films, seemed like a particularly interesting and original approach.Nina Jacobson, producer of the film.
The characters in A Song of Birds and Snakes
Coriolanus, now with the actor Tom Blyth Taking the lead of the character, he commands the protagonism of the entire story. He carries, in his surname, the title of a House that was once important and very rich: Snow. However, his family lost everything during the Dark Days, leaving him in poverty. On the first page of the book, Snow prepares her only source of food, cabbage soup, so that her belly doesn't growl during the harvest ceremony.
Snow studies at an elite school in the Capital, and has almost no acceptable clothes for almost any of her commitments. Luckily for him, the Academy offers everyday uniforms.
Until the beginning of the story of The Song of Birds and Serpents, Coriolanus also lives with his cousin, Tigris, played by the actress from Euphoria, Hunter Schafer. As well as Snow, her relative already appeared in the last film of the main saga, Hope – The End. Recalling the scene, Katniss is running for shelter, until she enters Tigris' apartment and recognizes her as a once-famous fashion designer. It is said that Snow's cousin was also manipulated by him, until she was no longer useful and was discarded.
Returning to the prelude, there is also Dr. Volumnia Gaul, played by Viola Davis in The Song of Birds and Serpents. She is a cold, cruel and calculating scientist responsible for coordinating the 10th Hunger Games, edited by District 12 tribute Lucy Gray. Played by actress Rachel Zegler, who has already appeared in Shazam 2: The Fury of the Gods and will be the future Snow White in the adaptation of Disney, Lucy is a brave, selfless girl and member of the Band, a group of travelers with musical abilities.
Suzanne Collins, the author of all the books in the saga, spoke with the vice-president, editor and editorial director of Scholastic about revisiting the history of Panem with Lucy Gray being the new girl, Snow's target.
Focusing on the 10th Hunger Games also gave me the opportunity to tell Lucy Gray's story. In the first chapter of The Hunger Games, I reference a fourth victor from District 12. Katniss seems to know nothing about the person worth mentioning. Although her story is not well known, Lucy Gray lives on in a meaningful way through her music, helping to overthrow Snow in the trilogy. Imagine his reaction when Katniss started singing “Deep in the Meadow” to Rue in the arena. Furthermore, Lucy Gray's legacy is that she introduced entertainment to the Hunger Games.Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games books.
As for the development of the protagonist, Collins says he was based on the theory of John Locke, a famous philosopher who theorized about the “blank slate”, saying that we are all shaped by our experiences. According to her, Snow's authoritarian convictions emerged from “his childhood experiences, relationships with robins, food, Hunger Games, District 12, District 13 and women. Then you step back and plant the seeds.”
Remembering previous films
Hunger Games, the first film in the series, released in 2012, follows the story of Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, a young woman who lives in a dystopian world divided into 12 districts and the Capital. Katniss volunteers as a tribute to participate in the Hunger Games, an annual television event, in place of her younger sister, Prim. Along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, she enters into a nationally televised fight to the death.
On fire, the sequel, was released in 2013 and picks up the story of Katniss and Peeta after their triumphant return from the 74 º Hunger Games. The two become symbols of an ongoing rebellion against the authoritarian Capital, led by President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland. In this film, they are forced to participate in a special edition of the Games, known as the Quaternary Massacre, which brings together previous winners in a deadly new arena.
In the third film, in Hope – Part 1, released in 2014, Katniss finds herself taking on the role of “the Mockingjay,” the face of the rebellion. She joins District 13, a secret district, to lead the revolt against the Capital. The film deepens tensions and sets the stage for the series' epic conclusion, as Katniss and her allies, including Gale Hawthorne, played by Liam Hemsworth, try to unite the districts in rebellion.
At the conclusion of the saga, in Hope: the End, released in 2015, Katniss and her allies launch a final assault against the Capitol in an attempt to overthrow President Snow's tyrannical regime.
The saga of books Hunger Games, has sold more than 100 million copies globally and began the 2010s as one of the film industry's most faithful and promising sagas with adaptations.
Text proofread by: Pedro Bomfim (20 / 09 / 23)