Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pontificating on The Hunger Games Movie

Years ago, for some reason, I decided to show the Christmas section of Franco Zeffirelli's movie "Jesus of Nazareth" to my grade six class.  

Most of them didn't get it.

Zeffirelli didn't show the Angel Gabriel giving Mary the news that she was pregnant, he just showed Mary having a one sided conversation at an open window.

"Who's she talking to?" my students asked in bewilderment.

I hadn't realized that you had to have read the book to 'get' the movie.
And that was my initial reaction to the movie version of "The Hunger Games", so this is a warning - if you haven't read the book, this blog won't mean much.

Cover of "The Hunger Games"
Cover of The Hunger Games

My rather pompous review of The Hunger Games movie

I thought the male/female roles were enhanced and 'fleshed' out in the movie. 

For example, we clearly see that Petah is a physically strong young man.

That is important. 

So important that Catniss herself points it out when she tells him to show the judges how far he can throw a heavy weight.

But Petah, like many men, has been wounded, first by his family and society and later in the arena.

 Even his name seems to have been castrated. 

The soft 'ah' ending rather than the hard 'er' sound in Peter.

Earlier in her life, Catniss had been saved by Petah.

When she was dying of starvation he had tossed her a loaf of bread.

Not only did she live, she went on to learn many life skills, skills that Petah did not learn, tied as he was to the rules of the oppressed society within which they lived. 

But Petah had one thing going for him, other than the physical strength that he did not recognize as a gift. 

He was not afraid to let Catniss save them. 

She didn't have his physical strength but she was a skilled archer. 

Skills honed from years of illegal hunting to keep herself and her family alive.

I think the message here is important and the wonderful thing is that it seems to be resonating.

Young men should be rightfully proud of their physical size and strength, it's a good thing to be a hero.

But they need to see that women have different skills that must also be utilized and honoured if we are to to survive these troubled times.

 Young women need to acknowledge that too.
In other words, girls, don't make men carry the complete load anymore,

It's time to pick up that bow and arrow.

(Oh yeah, I liked the movie.)

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