A2 Case Study - The Hunger Games - Genre, Narrative, Representation

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The Hunger Games

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Transcript of A2 Case Study - The Hunger Games - Genre, Narrative, Representation

  • 1. The Hunger Games

2. The Hunger Games A film based off the first book in a trilogy. The story revolves around a 16 year old girl,Katniss Everdeen, whom by fate, and thensubsequently choice, is thrown into theHunger Games to fight to the death with 23other competitors. It is a treasure trove of representations ofboth genders 3. What genre is the The HungerGames? Science Fiction? Action/Adventure? Romance? Drama? Fantasy? 4. Poster AnalysisExplore the 3 posters on the next slide.Which genre codes do each rely on?Are they using the same genre codes? 5. Science Fiction The Repertoire ofElements (Johnston, 2011) Special effects or spectacle. Special effects which tread the line betweenrealism and fantasy. Futuristic set design and effects. New technology (robots and computers). Exploration of new (futuristic) spaces. Intertextual references to other science-fictionfilms. Destruction as a central visual motif. Which ofthese applyto THG? 6. Media Students bookNarrative and SF: the genres escapist elementsare often implied to lie simply in its audiovisualqualities, with FX, lavish costumes and setsevoking exotic future cityscapes andtechnologies... But escapism could also be saidto lie in the satisfactions of a genre whosenarrative shapings can offer powerful,incomprehensible enemies and technologies,which are often understood and efficientlycombatted. 7. SF, like other genre labels, conjures up broadexpectations in the areas of: ideological and cultural themes narrative patterns audiovisual signifiers (e.g. settings, costume,FX, objects, kinds of music, voices, editing,framing) 8. Action/Adventure The Repertoire ofElements 12A certificate, maximising youth audiences Often hybridised with Sci Fi/Romance High production values including CGI FX. Fast paced editing Classic Hollywood three act narrative structure Predictable chain of events cause and effect Single stranded, linear, closed narrative Dramatic non-diegetic sound More narrative action codes than enigma codes Clear binary oppositions Romantic sub-plot, humorous dialogue Use of close up/Eye-line matches through insert (POV) shots/High KeyLighting Dominant representation of gender: male/female action hero. Mulveysmale gaze (and also the contemporary female gaze can apply...) 9. Unconventional? The film style is interesting and, at times,unconventional. Ross has uses lots of hand-heldcamera - with some scenes almost resembling asocial realist film (like Trainspotting, Bullet Boy orFish Tank). A lot of dramatic scene play out withlittle or no non-diegetic music. Why? What is the effect on the audience? To enhance the realism and enable the audienceto experience what Katniss is experiencing. 10. Some scenes make use of a shallow depth of field, with thecamera's focus resembling a human eye. We see objects goingin and out of focus, giving the film a spontaneous and realistfeel. This seems at odds to the action/adventure's primary focuson narrative (rather than style).The film's use of mise-en-scene in scenes outside the Capitol(the futuristic centre of the imagined state of Panem) aredistinctly 'realist' in that District 12 resembles America duringthe Great Depression - and the games themselves take place in awoodland. Again, giving the film a sense of verisimilitude(realism) beyond average science fiction.However science fiction tropes are also apparent, e.g. use of CGI,a focus on futuristic technology and fashion. 11. Key genre terms Repertoire of elements Codes and conventions Tropes/clichs Mise-en-scene Iconography Hybrid genre (or hybridity)What doesThe HungerGames have incommon withSkyfall? 12. Which narrative concepts apply?1. Propps Spheres of Action.2. Todorov equilibrium and disequilibrium.3. Barthes action and enigma codes4. Strauss - binary opposites.5. Other narrative concepts (e.g. closure andlinearity, flashbacks).6. Allegory (what could The Hunger Gamessymbolise or represent about contemporarysociety? Ideological views?) 13. Todorov The film follows a classic narrative structure asoutlined by Tzveten Todorov. The film beginswith an equilibrium (the people of District 12live in abject poverty. Katniss looks after herfamily). Then there is a disequilibrium(Katniss volunteers to take part in the HungerGames to save her sister) and then a newequilibrium emerges at the end (Katniss winsthe Hunger Games), thus also completing aclassic Hollywood three part narrative arc. 14. Propp The film also follows Propp's Spheres of Action: We have a villain (or villains) (President Snow / Cato(the merciless 'tribute' from District 1). The hero (Katniss). The donor or provider (The sponsors give medicineswhich appear to have almost magical properties). The helper (Haymitch and Cinna). The princess (is Peeta the princess in this film? Hecertainly appears to be rescued by Katniss). The dispatcher: (Effie Trinkett - pulls the names outfor the games). 15. Both Strauss and Barthes' argued that binary opposites werecentral to narratives, and there are certainly many of these inthe film - good vs. evil; rich vs. poor; the strong vs. the weak;love vs. hate - which make the narrative interesting, andunderline much of the drama in the story.The film also makes use of lots of Barthes enigma codes (e.g.What's happening in Katniss's flashbacks about Peeta? Why hasPeeta joined in with the career tributes?)The film makes use of exposition (we see title cards at beginningof the film, explaining the backstory, which is repeated in thepropaganda film played shortly before the reaping. As well asthis, two TV presenters interject the games with commentary oncertain elements in the story - to make these clearer for theaudience (e.g. explaining what 'tracker-jackers' are). 16. The film has a conventional linear narrative, progressing in chronologicalorder (with only some use of flash-backs e.g. to Katniss's first meeting withPeeta).The ending is closed in the sense that the disequilibrium (the Games) endsand Katniss wins.However, there are some open elements to the ending. President Snow isoutraged at Katniss's refusal to concede to the gamemakers' plans (she tricksthem into making both her and Peeta victors, by threatening to swallowpoisonous berries). We do not know the repercussions of this. This allowssome link with a planned sequel.The film's narrative can also be read as being an allegory (metaphor) of thedivide between rich and poor on the planet today (the wealthy 1%),imperialism, the Vietnam war, the Roman Empire, slavery and the struggle forCivil Rights. Which AS theory can we link with this? 17. The Original Hunger Games?? 18. ControversyA group of ninth-gradestudents from a Japanesehigh school have been forcedby legislation to compete in aBattle Royale. The studentsare each given a bag with arandomly selected weaponand a few rations of food andwater and sent off to kill eachother in a no-holds-barred(with a few minor rules) gameto the death, which meansthat the students have threedays to kill each other untilone survives--or they all die. 19. Representation: Katniss EverdeenThe film offers a positive representation ofwomen. The character of Katniss is strong anddefiant. She progresses the narrative, is a womanof action, is intelligent and independent (notrelying on men).It was the first film to hit box office revenue ofover $350 million, with a female action lead. 20. The Hunger Games: Female Heroine Has a female protagonist AND challenges genderstereotypes. While Katniss is indeed a female, sheis characterized by her masculine qualitiesthroughout the entire novel/film. Katniss has more stereotypically male traits shes a hunter, she doesnt like displayingemotions or being romantic, she kills more oftenand is more focussed on survival. Peeta, by contrast, is the gatherer, moreemotionally open, more romantic, better withwords. 21. Katniss = dominant 39.35 - Commanding Throw that metal thing over there. 1.05.30 Peeta tells her not to go for the bow.She doesnt listen. 1.47.30 Im not gonna let you go. Peeta triesto dominate. Katniss doesnt do as she is told. The only time Katniss does as Peeta tells her iswhen she is drugged at 1.24.40 (Naturally this isfor survival reasons but it could be as a result ofimpairment??) 22. These characteristics all paint the picture ofKatniss as a female who is female only by sex;her personality traits, desires, and evenphysical appearance all identify closer withmasculinity than femininity 23. But she does show stereotypicalfemale traits 1.30 Introduced to Katniss Nurturing mother-like figure. Comforting Prim who has had a bad dream. 5.30 Spaceship arrives over the woods, Gale puts his arms around Katniss andguides her to the shelter of the trees. 41.46 Nervous (not as clam as Peeta) when waiting for demonstration task. 1.36.00 Nurturer, again. Rues death (similarities to Skyfall - but how is it different?) 1.40.25 Crying but why? 1.45.50 Nurturer, again(!). Looking after Peeta, caring and nursing him back to health. 24. Why is the following clip important?He made me look weak!55.45 25. Subverting Gender roles? Shes the hunter She kills with a bow & arrow She is less openly emotional She is less romantic She is more likely to use things for her own personalbenefit, but is she selfish? Shes the one more set on survival She comes up with the plans once her & Peeta aretogether She is not as good with communication(words/language) compared to Peeta. 26. Princess: PeetaPeeta claims he doesn't want the games to changehim. He becomes a Proppian princess in parts of thenarrative, where he is saved by Katniss. 27. He gathers while Katniss hunts His only kill in the 74th hunger games was an accident. He is more openly emotional. He lets the world see himcry. He tells Katniss how he feels about her, even when heknows the entire country is watching. He is more romantic. Katniss is portrayed as having nevergiven much thoughts to boys until the beginning of thebook. Even in the book, she really only thinks about itbecause she has to play a role for the cameras. Hes physically strong, but in a different way than Gale,who might be considered the traditional male lead model. Hes the more passive one in the relationship. Katniss takescharge. Partially because Peeta is injured, but also partiallybecause thats the way their personalities would play out inmost circumstances. Hes better with words and language. 28. Questions? Does the film imply that in order to besuccessful in the Hunger Games as a female,Katniss has to take on anti-feminine qualities? Why isnt it possible for Katniss to beportrayed as a feminine figure? Why does shehave to be cold, unemotional, unforgiving,and unsympathetic in order to win the HungerGames? 29. Cato: the villainEarp & Katz's theory in 'Tough Guise' suggests that men areoften represented as violent. This is supported, in that the mostviolent tribute is Cato (who seems to actually enjoy the violence)- he is shown smiling at a girl before we hear her scream (as hisgroup presumably kills her) and then laughing afterwards. 30. More baddiesPresident SnowSenecaThe people in positionsof power in the filmtend to be men (thegamemakers andPresident Snow). Thisreinforces a malehegemony andpatriarchal notions ofpower. However, thepatriarchy in the film isrepresented as beingviolent and immoral.The audience ispositioned to disagreewith it. 31. Stereotypes subverted: the helpersCinnaHaymitch 32. EffieStereotype45.00 33. OthersEthnicitycontroversy!(Seeaudienceslides)RueThreshGalePrimrose 34. Representation of sexuality? Interesting article on how THG perpetuatesugly LGBT stereotypes Read the comments though not a lot ofLGBTs agree. 35. Representation of placesDistrict 12The Capitol