Why Would You Watch That?

I went to The Hunger Games without Darling Boyfriend. I’d read the books, they were screaming to be turned into a sceenplay. When I told my Darling what I’d been watching he interjected: “Okay, stop right there. That’s awful. Why would you even watch that?”
I’m a profoundly political person: I’ve been fascinated by current affairs, conflicts, climate change, loss of biodiversity, misunderstandings, religious differences, in short: of the human capacity to render a situation Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition -of course I love dystopian sci fi! When applied correctly, dystopian novels work as a sort of distorting mirror, blowing up our faults, taking troubling trends to their logical horrifying extreme.
Which is basically the world-building of The Hunger Games. A world full of mutants and hybrids, our climate has shifted, causing hunger, riots and it’s following authoritarian smack-down, resulting in the Capitol’s dictatorship. Every year –Athens’ style- every district must hand over one boy and one girl who will fight each other until only one of them survives. The spectacle is of course televised as a reminder of the price of rebelling against Capitol. And, as per the model of these stories, we are given a hero, a Theseus to end this practice.
There are many things I like about these books -and the movie(s). First of all: I love that the hero a young woman. In a perfect world, that wouldn’t matter, but things being as they are… I love that it’s a young woman who doesn’t dress sexxxy in order to win. She wins on merit. She wins by archery, by building an alliance with another woman, and yes, by manipulating the system by playing by their own rules. She’s awesome.
But I also love how reluctant she is about the whole thing. On the one hand, she chooses to enter the Hunger Games, but her choice is constrained by her drive to protect her younger sister. Protecting her baby sister is what she has been doing most of her young life. She’s good at it, but she doesn’t enjoy it. She wants to win, because the alternative is dying.¬† Her reluctance makes her lovable over much of her competition -especially the professionals.
By throwing humans in the worst thinkable circumstances we give ourselves chance to consider (1) what would I do? How would I navigate this world? How can I tell right from wrong? And (2) by entering the heroine, we are given a way out of the labyrinth. It provides us with the hope that even if a rotten future is inevitable, we’ll also keep trying to find a way out.
Darling, does that answer your question?
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  1. […] discussies in het Britse parlement, de politieke tegenstellingen, ik geniet daar echt van (zie ook hier). Daarom is Pitt mij ook zo dierbaar: hij een succesvol strateeg. Hij doet zijn best om de […]

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