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Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

2h 38m
moderate violence, threat, drug misuse
It’s been eight years since Katniss Everdeen brought The Hunger Games crashing to its knees in the film series’ bloody and brutal fourth installment. Now, we’re going back to see how Panem’s tyrannical leader got started. Sixty four years before the events of the first film, during the 10th Hunger Games, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Blyth) is instructed to mentor District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird (Zegler). When she defiantly sings during the reaping ceremony, Snow is hopeful he can turn the odds in her favour. Only time will tell if their campaign is enough to ensure her survival… and what turns this hopeful youth into an embittered dictator. Scroll down to refresh your memory on the origins of the saga.
Cast: Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Viola Davis, Fionnula Flanagan, Ashley Liao, Zoe Renee
Director(s): Francis Lawrence

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Still 1 - Hunger Games Rachel Zeigler Tom Blyth
Still 4  - Hunger Games Hunter Schafer
Still 2 - Hunger Games Jason Schwartzman
Still 5 - Hunger Games Viola Davis
Still 3 - Hunger Games Peter Dinklage
Still 6 - Hunger Games Rachel Zeigler


Remember 2008? A financial crisis was raging, Beyonce was at the top of the charts with If I Were a Boy, and the Twilight saga had just landed on the big screen. But that isn’t the only fictional series that was taking our world by storm.

The first book in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian Hunger Games trilogy was published that very year, selling 100 million copies around the world, with all three chapters becoming New York Times best sellers. In 2012, the books were first adapted for the screen, in a joint effort by author Collins and director Gary Ross, with newcomer Jennifer Lawrence as their leading lady. At the cinema, The Hunger Games set a new record for the highest-grossing opening weekend and earned nearly $700 million.

In case you’re not familiar – The Hunger Games is set in Panem, a dystopian state split between those that have and those that have not, with the wealthy Capitol, run by President Snow, controlling the surrounding 12 districts. Every year the Capital puts on The Hunger Games, a Battle Royale-style death match where young tributes from each district are selected at random and forced to fight until there is but one victor. Televised for the whole of Panem to see, the games are designed to remind the districts of their previous mutinies and prevent future rebellions. When 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers as tribute to save her sister, she is thrown into a world of games and politics and her fight for survival leads to an uprising, overthrowing the villainous President Snow.

In May 2020, twelve years after first dropping a series that shaped a generation, Collins released the prequel novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, set sixty-four years before the first book, during the 10th Hunger Games. Through the eyes of a young President Snow and new tribute Lucy Gray (Rachel Zegler), we get a real insight into the origins of the Hunger Games as a reality television show, used to control the districts and entertain the capital.

It’s a gripping tale of love, friendship, and endurance, and even more now than in 2008, its take on the dangers of voyeurism and fascination with violence feels all too real.


Suzanne Collins says her main inspiration for the Hunger Games came from the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Every year King Minos would force the city of Athens to sacrifice tributes, seven boys and sevens girls, to his Minotaur, as punishment for the death of his son. The King held this control over Athens until Theseus volunteered as a tribute and ultimately defeated the Minotaur.


The Divergent Series (2014-2016)
Battle Royale (2000)
Harry Potter Saga (2001-2011)

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