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As it can be assumed from my previous posts, I am one of those people who have a love-hate relationship with popular fiction. So, when The Hunger Games became hot property, I flinched at the idea that a book whose synopsis was dangerously similar to my beloved Battle Royal and included yet another love triangle would hunt my nightmares for the next few years.

Then I read the books. I didn’t follow the orthodox sequence of the trilogy. Book three was picked up from my local Waterstones in May. A few months had to pass before books one and two came into my possession.

Setting up the scenery of a dystopian future is a challenging task. It needs to feel plausible and familiar, yet distant and intriguing. In The Hunger Games many elements are easily recognisable but used in extreme and fundamentally different situations.

A prominent topic of the books is the role of media in a fascist nation. Every figure of authority is actively seeking their manipulation aiming at the control and intimidation of the population. The Hunger Games as an institution is a televised declaration of the power that the centre, the Capitol, exercises over its districts. The control of telecommunications, from telephones to televisions is essential for the control of the people. Similar topics have been previously explored by a great range of books and films. However, the attention to detail that Collins puts to her description and her intelligent usage of these elements, assisting them to become a central topic of discussion in the books, makes it particularly interesting.

Katniss is in many ways the anti-Bella. She has masculine traits: she can hunt and kill. She serves as Peeta’s protector during the games. She is also Gale’s equal, whenever Gale is the true masculine figure of the series. Throughout the books she tries to find her loyalties, she explores and develops her own political views and comes of age in a time of turmoil. Her fake love and engagement to Peeta for the delight of the viewers seems like a mockery of tabloid love affairs. This is a woman whose feelings remain private and whenever expressed, they consist of short and honest statements. Furthermore, the author doesn’t mind causing unbearable pain to the heroine. She lets her fall, break and get wounded beyond repair. Katniss is a scared woman hunted by nightmares and will remain so forever. She is also an intelligent, political being, a trait that is missing from many other female popular fiction characters.

Another character that stands out is Cinna. The fashion designer and Katniss’s stylist is a silent force, a genius with the capacity to channel his feelings into his work. His natural look comes in starkly contrast with the plastic and colourful people around him. Soft-spoken, yet strong, he is manly without being intimidating. If he was an actual person, you would be a soft-spoken protector with slight self-distracting tenderness, but a radiating inner beauty.

Such male characters can be a significant draw to older female readers. A fresh-out-of-middle-school boy is way too young, inexperienced and naive to function as an imaginative lover. It feels wrong to allow oneself to be intimate with the character and grow fond of him. However, a more experienced man can appeal both to young audience (who may find him a bit “old” but “cute”) and to older women who can locate adult issues in his behaviour. Same thing could be said about characters such as Sirius Black from the Harry Potter series who often functioned as the pathway between the childish material and the social and political topics that J.K.Rowling wanted to introduce. He is also described as a man of a few words, a great insight into other people’s feeling and a capacity to communicate tenderness without using words or excessive body contact. In other words, he contains archetypical characteristics of the perfect, mysterious lover that so many females secretly lust over.

So, Lenny Kravitz’s casting was spot on.

Some people may remember Lenny as a hot, yet cocky guy singing about American women and staring half-naked in steamy video clips. Far less have seen him wonderfully portraying the tender nurse John in Precious, the role that actually landed him the Hunger Games gig – and rightfully so.

The posters released a few weeks ago raise the expectations for the movies due to their simple, yet to-the-point approach. The major characters are given side shots. They all turned to their right, except for Katniss who is established as the protagonist by being the only one turning to her left.

Katniss’s poster

Cinna’s poster is also beautifully shot. The model is handsome, the role is excellent.

Cinna’s poster

With Gary Ross on the director’s chair and promising promotional material so far, it looks like they can do no wrong.

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