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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Remember who the enemy is.
Director: Francis Lawrence
Science Fiction

Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a "Victor's Tour" of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) - a competition that could change Panem forever.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Alderaan Dies

I get asked for examples all the time, even after all these years. Okay, here‘s one.

Noir, by my definition is the placing of a world such that the viewers collectively control it. The effect is that ordinary people in the story find themselves jerked around by fate and strange, amazing coincidences. The cause, the reason is that we as viewers want this, and bend the world‘s physics to make it happen. Noir is the simple state of making us gods over the world we see. At least initially, that role was marked by camera angles that an observer in the world wouldn‘t have, but modern noir isn’t linked to cinematic style.

Folding is a collection of techniques that makes the film self-aware. A simple fold is a movie that alternates between observing a world and having someone in that world acknowledge that they are in a film. A common expression of this is a film within the film with the two reinforcing each other. The effect is that the audience is placed in the film explicitly.

Catching Fire is a fourfold noir. The outer world is the world of the viewer, us. We have simple needs: action and clearly drawn teen romance. Inside this is the world of Snow and Heavensbee, who watch the populace. Together with Snow and Heavensbee that populace (and us) watch the games, as the explicit audience of the traditional ‘film within.’ And within that is a charade our two heroes support. Each layer tries to control the next, with the last??(our valued love story) affecting the others.

Noir is popular in modern film because it acknowledges us in the movie. We like that, we recognise it and we notice when it isn’t there. It is its own fold and is used because it works, being our most common fold. The story within the story fold is simpler, not uniquely American, and more amenable to romance because you can conflate difficulties of love which are not cinematic with political unrest which is.

All this is just formula, which is what we expect. By these folding conventions, the story can use devices that otherwise would jar. For instance, as with many??’intricate plan’ movies, we count on the focus character to do things on the spur of the moment that turn out to have been essential to the plan. The planners seem to have known the future in detail;??this is what characterises noir. But holy cow, sometimes it is too much. Catch here how random it is that the wire is laying as it is, she sees it, she has an unlikely idea, she impossibly succeeds with precision timing, a hole is opened precisely over her where a vehicle is ready waiting.

But Philip Seymour Hoffman? You forgive everything.

Posted in 2013

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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