The worldwide phenomena that the YA dystopian novel The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has become in the recent years called for an enormous amount of advertisements, movie posters and all sorts of marketing to cater to the audience’s demands. Lionsgate Films, while promoting the third movie in the franchise “Mockingjay, Part 1” decided to design and release a collection of portraits depicting and representing several of Panem’s districts.
Each of the images came accompanied by a blurb about the individuals portrayed in the collection. These portraits were published in the Capitol’s website as if they were designed and distributed all across Panem by the same Capitol with the objective of glorifying the citizens of each district and thanking them for their hard work and contributing to the community where they belong.
If these portraits have been supposedly created and designed by the Capitol it is obvious that there is always going to be an underlying message. I decided to analyze in particular the portrait associated with District 10, because I believe it has a lot to say and holds a lot of hidden meaning. I am going to refer to different objects and areas of the portraits that I labeled in the images.
The first thing I noticed when looking at the image for the first time was the smoking pipe (1). It is most certainly something placed on purpose and I believe it is a way to depict the Capitol. It is there to show their veiled presence throughout Panem. People in the districts hold no riches when compared with the Capitol and therefore the pipe would seem absurd if it were not mimicking the citizens of Panem’s capital.
Secondly, I started to notice how they turned the model into a citizen that fits into the definition of “cattle” by using a furry coat and a nose ring (2). Clearly the nose ring is an icon that is widely associated with cattle, as it is a symbol we can find in many advertisements and related products. The furry coat obviously envelops the model as if it were his second nature, its clothes, and its comfort. It can also be thought that it is the Capitol’s way to mask their belief that the people in the districts are more animal-like and savages when compared to their own.
It is also important to notice how the district’s seal (3), a cattle and two crossed butcher knives, is then contradicted by how the model is holding the lamb, as if it were its own baby or prized possession, close to his heart. Therefore we are lead to believe that citizens in District 10 value their cattle, but as the emblem shows, in the end they are as lethal as any other for “the good of Panem”.
Finally, I would like to talk about the text in this portrait (4). The blurb itself is already downgrading the citizen by saying “raised amongst the herd” as if he were part of the cattle of District 10. However, it is masked by thanking the citizen for its hard work and its contribution to the nation, placing importance in the recognition of “love your labor” and “make us proud”, which ultimately leads to the famous “Panem today, Panem tomorrow, Panem Forever”.
As a whole I believe these portraits created by Lionsgate Films were thoroughly thought through when being designed to align them with the Capitol’s ideology and propagandistic views that are so widely represented throughout the books and movies. These portraits have veiled meanings, thus, the truth is found between the lies.