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Welcome the Mockingjay

News & Politics

By Valentina Herrera


Protesters against military rule gesture by holding up their three middle fingers in the air, during a brief demonstration at a shopping mall in Bangkok June 1, 2014 (Reuters / Erik De Castro):

(PANEM) Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth reprise their career-making roles in the third installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, Part 1. The film earned $273.8 million in its opening weekend, more than doubling a $125 million budget.

Jennifer Lawrence stars as the Guinness record making “highest-grossing action heroine of all time,” Katniss Everdeen. Previously, Lawrence has received Academy Award nominations and won Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook, but the most acknowledgement she has received for her portrayal of Katniss is an MTV Movie Award for “Best Female Performance.”

Lawrence’s ability to portray such a troubling character that deals with so much internal conflict is astounding and should be recognized as real acting, but because the character and its film is focused on teens, and especially females, the film will not receive the critical praise it has so rightfully earned.

Katniss is a complex character in the books by Suzanne Collins and the films reflect that notion. There are moments in Mockingjay where Katniss’s fear and vulnerability are shown. One of these instances is Katniss waking up in the middle of the night and being consoled by her younger sister, Prim. Having nightmares is a symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Throughout the series, Katniss shows signs of PTSD and other traumatic mental disorders due to her experience inside the Arena during the 74th and 75th Hunger Games.

Katniss’s character alone is a hint at what genre this movie actually is. Mockingjay is a war film, and is definitely one of the best of the year. Critics loved Brad Pitt’s World War II flick Fury because of how it displayed the effects war has on its sufferers, but what makes Mockingjay special is its exhibition of how what looks like child’s play can destroy the minds of the children that endure it.

As a testament to how powerful this series truly is, the release of Mockingjay was banned in Thailand. Five students were arrested for using the three-finger salute on Nov 18. Dissenters in Thailand have begun using Katniss’s three-finger salute to protest the military dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha. The salute has become popular to signal opposition of Thailand’s May 22 military coup instilling General Chan-ocha.

The movie has been replaced by the Emma Stone flick Magic in the Moonlight by the Apex Group, one of Thailand’s leading film distributors. Apex said that the removal of Mockingjay is related to an anti-coup group, the League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy. The Thai protest group bought a block of 160 tickets to screenings of the film and planned to give them away to protesters that could answer the question “In what ways is the Capital in Mockingjay similar to Bangkok?” A spokesman for Apex cinemas said, “We feel our theaters are being used for political activism.”

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