The contrast of abject poverty versus ostentatious (over the top) luxury is emphasised throughout the film by the contrast in the colour of costumes: washed out and devoid of colour in the districts and extreme bright colours in the capitol (NOTE: if you are writing about this in your essays, you must pick out specific pieces of evidence such as, describing Effie Trinkett’s costume and then comparing it to someone in District 12 like Katniss (when they are standing side by side on the podium for example); or how she contrasts/clashes with ALL the people in District 12
The softly draped, drab cotton clothing (which have Connotations of being defenseless, helpless, defeated) worn by the District 12 inhabitants contrasts very sharply with the architectural, brightly colored clothing (which have connotations of aggression, assault, dominance) worn by Effie Trinket. Her clothes are cruel. Like armour that uses harsh color and shape to intimidate. She contrasts heavily with the environment of unpaved roads. She’s the one who gets to use the only shiny object we see: that very streamlined stainless-steel microphone, a hint of design to come on the train.
The hairstyles and the food are reminiscient of the extremitities of the French aristocracy before the French revolution, which parallels the kind of decadent, debauched society it was before the people of France revolted against them. This foreshadows (which means hints at) the downfall of President Snow’s rule. He is aware of how delicate the balance of power is. If the district people had a little more HOPE they would gain the power to act. See symbolism.
The contrast is also apparent in their possessions which are old versus new: everything in the districts is old, worn, colourless,rusty, old fashioned, and broken; whereas in the capitol it is colourful shiny, new, plastic or futuristic -see the montage section for a breakdown of the abject poverty of district 12. NOTE: You must give a detailed discription of the items you are using as evidence such as, the old buttons and the oldfashioned radio (and how the camera shows them). In contrast the Capitol people have modern, sometimes futuristic (as many of the things they have/use we do not have yet in our own time. Or we have the technology, but not the money to develop them yet. 200 mph trains are possible but we, as yet, do not have them in the UK. The audience is meant to understand their awe as they see the luxurious items on the train for the first time in their lives: the plush furnishings, the extravagant food, the chandelier…
[as they travel on a very fancy looking train]
Effie Trinket: Two hundred miles per hour and you can barely feel a thing. I think it’s one of the wonderful things about this opportunity, that even though you’re here and even though it’s just for a little while, you get to enjoy all of this.
[Katniss and Peeta just stare at her]
Despite the plush nature of the Capitol, with their abundance of colour, clothing, soft furnishings and accessories, there is still something cold and harsh about the setting, that reflects their cold and harsh personalities. Haymitch says to Katniss on the train ‘Oh look at you! You just killed a placemat’ reflects the fact that there are pretty surfaces and underlying brutality. The brutality and killing of the games serve to keep the people of the districts quiet and prevent them from revolting against their horrific treatment. The people of the Capitol need this brutality to pay for their lifestyle, so in effect the brutality pays for the pretty surfaces (at a huge cost to the people of the district).
The setting in the districts is right out of the depression era (1930’s). The opening scenes in District 12 are atmospheric and period precise. The bleached-out blue palette (dye is expensive), the wooden shacks, the muddy roads… (see the montage section). Production designer Philip Messina has said he wanted to create a “retro-futuristic” look, throwing Depression-era America into the distant future and adding high technology.
At the Hob there were metal radios changing hands, and buttons for sale – these would be valueless in the hi-tech Capitol. Katniss’s mother and sister watch the Games on an invisible projection TV on their shack wall which is a huge clash with all the other possessions they have. See the montage for a detailed description of the possessions. The Capitol only allow the districts the technology that controls them. They have to be able to see the propoganda and punishment but are denied all other forms of technological advancement. It is as if the Capitol are purposely holding the Districts back in technology as well as food, to prevent them gaining strength to overcome their aggressors.
CONTRAST IN THE WAY THE CHILDREN ARE TREATED IN THE DISTRICTS AND THE CAPITOL
Taking a jab with his toy sword. Mimicking the savagery of the Hunger Games which shows how little they think or care about it being the brutal murder of innocent children. Just like them, though not so innocent, more spoiled and coveted. They have an extravagance of possessions, clothing and with it it is inferred food, warmth and shelter, other than the shacks in the districts.
The gambling board showing the odds for the contestants. Proving it is just a game for them.
An establishing shot of the square to reveal the popularity of placing bets on who is going to win.
A close up of the board revealing the District 11 people. Showing how Rue’s innocence and age has given her less of a chance to win.
A woman getting her son ready for the Reaping.
Before one last hug, the intensity of the hug shows they are devastated about the day and the fact they may not see each other again.
The two boys in the montage section – they are playing in the mud and the shaky handheld camera moves to show this. The previous two shots show a woman washing and then another hanging washing out. The juxtaposition of the shots before this one suggest that the children are having their only shirts washed in preparation for the Reaping.
An aerial shot that shows the children walking to the Reaping like ‘lambs to the slaughter’