Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Catching Fire: Dystopian Foreshadowing of Present Reality

I think the film Hunger Games is undeniably science fiction since science fiction deals with scientific innovations and futuristic science and technology, and these kinds of things were seen all throughout the film. Even though the setting of some of the districts were just like any other normal place where poverty and dictatorship is prevalent, the otherworldly inventions in the film like the training room where there were simulations for honing skills, the simulation of the domed place where they fought, etc., makes the film science fiction. Also, science fiction deals with new and different political and social systems, and this was covered by the film as well. The setting of the film is dystopian, which according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, “is an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives”. These various factors were clearly seen in the film and these are the reasons why the film is science fiction.

I strongly believe that the film is a commentary on past, present, and future human society. The problems and hardships of the people in the film is familiar especially to us Filipinos. I recall my mom telling me after the film that she remembered the Philippines being under martial law while watching the film. She says that what happened to the old man in District 11 who dared express his sympathy for the people and opposition for the government through the act of kissing his hand and raising it as an act of defiance was a normal sight during the reign of Marcos. The old man in the film was seized and killed on the spot, and my mom said that that really happened in the past when people tried to oppose Marcos. The film also speaks about the present, where poverty is hugely rampant, and still the government officials and leaders spend a huge deal of money on luxurious stuff. This is very reminiscent of the Napoles issue, and this also indicates the state of our nation nowadays. If all these problems aren’t addressed and taken care of, I think that this will continue on in the future, and the film might really be a commentary and a foreshadowing as well of what is soon to come.

I think science, technology, and society in the 13 districts both fail and succeed. It succeeds because the innovations are really astounding and unique. For example, they help hone the skills of the competitors (i.e. training room) and they help build efficient transportation (modern train that transports people to different districts). Although it succeeds, it also fails 10 times more. The poor and the commoners do not really benefit from the technology of their districts. The innovations in the 13 districts are mainly used by rich people because they are the only ones who can afford it and because the commoners are not given the right to use them. This clearly reflects the image of society in the film, where the division of classes are still present.

Bea Lejano

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