The Hunger Games & Identification
Posted by: Liesbet van Zoonen
The Hunger Games, though a really engaging film, does repeat some well-worn themes of popular culture. In fact, both George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World resonate strongly in the story of young people competing to death on a reality TV show. In the film, we see how a future government in alliance with the entertainment industry ‘ celebrates’ national unity every year through organizing the ‘ Hunger Games’. One boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts in the imaginary future society are selected for a survival of the fittest. Only one of the 24 youngsters can win, the rest will die, either at the hand of another contestant, or through the hardships that the jungle surroundings of the show create for them. The national TV audience follows their struggles 24/7 through the omnipresent but hidden TV cameras. Can they escape? Impossible, because we see how they are all injected with ‘ tracking fluid’, making sure the reality producers always know where they are. The totalitarian government behind all this forms a clear connection with 1984, whereas the audiences eagerly entertained and pacified by the yearly death struggle of 24 young people reminds of Brave New World. In addition, there is a strong resemblance with films like The Truman Show, Runaway Man or Gamer. The ‘tracking fluid’ could come straight out of currently popular conspiracy theories about implantable chips: whether used for medical or identication purposed, they have been framed as ‘ Tokens of the Beast’. In the film, this is indeed what the fluid represents: the presence of beastly government and entertainment powers in the human body. Notwithstanding all these clichés, it is a really good film to go and see.