The Hunger Games | 2012 | dir. Gary Ross
The final image of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games took on a very different flavor when it hit screens nationwide March of 2012. Pulled from a revelatory exchange between survivors Katniss and Peeta, it moves from a moment of swelling terror and dread in the face of a familiar landscape made terrifying and alien, to a moment of heroic triumph, in the face of a crowd who does not understand the full ramifications of what they just witnessed. Katniss, a scared child only more scared after the battle is done, has one single moment to appreciate what she has done for her district and for her family. Post-traumatic shock and the cold illusory nature of the Capitol (suggested by her dark reflection on the train wall) only creep at the edges of her awareness.
However, unlike in the novel, we are not only bound to her awareness—and while it may be Collins’ final image, it is not director Gary Ross’.
The film, as it does throughout its running time, moves from that fateful image of their linked hands to a screen. While for Katniss, the Capitol is but a shadow in the face of her district, for the audience, the Capitol is our primary lens. Katniss’ moment of triumph is but an image framed for the Capitol, for us, to achieve the look of a hero and it is being broadcast throughout the districts …
Being broadcast to Snow, seen above ascending to the next stage of battle.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is currently in theaters.