Friday, November 21, 2014

The Hanging Tree: The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1

Katniss has a flashlight and she uses it to taunt Buttercup, the sour pet cat of her sister; Katniss stops and realizes something: President Snow has been taunting Katniss with Peeta just as Katniss was taunting the cat with the light. There are two important things about this: first, we see this exact same scenario (the cat and the light) used in the second trailer for Night At the Museum (please see TRAILERS for more) and, Mockingjay introducing a metaphor, then decoding the metaphor for the audience, is a blatant invitation to decode the entire film; trust me, they want us to do this. I thought X-Men: Days Of Future Past would prove to be the most anti-socialist film of the year, but it appears Francis Lawrence has outdone it. As always, this is full of spoilers; please discontinue reading if you do NOT want to know what happens. If you are looking for a copy of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) singing The Hanging Tree song she sings solo in the film, here it is (if you want to buy the Score, it's not on the soundtrack, it probably will not be released next year until they include the Score for Part II as well), and we'll start with this because it's imperative to the subtext of the film (you can now--Nov 28--purchase/listen to the song on iTunes: look for James Newton Howard and the Mockingjay Score, The Hanging Tree):
You can find the lyrics and literary history here. Supposedly, when Katniss was little, her father taught her the song, but her mom, hearing the lyrics--which are about a man who is going to be hanged for killing three people, and is trying to get his true love to hang herself so they can die together--saw Prim making a "necklace of rope" so she forbade Katniss from learning the song (Plutarch, in the film, tells Haymitch he changed the word "rope" [as in hanging] to "hope" [as in revolution]). The reason this song is important is because our fathers (the "Founding Fathers") taught us the same song: if they were hung for treason by killing the three enemies of freedom (tyranny, oppression and dehumanization) we (as their true love they sacrificed everything for) should join them and be willing to sacrifice ourselves to continue fighting those same enemies today. This is validated when we see the group of people (who in the track above, follow Katniss' singing), willingly sacrificing themselves, over-run the peacekeepers and blow up the dam to damage the Capitol. It seems an odd song for a revolution, but when you examine the lyrics and the way it's used, it makes perfect sense that, just as our founding fathers were willing to face hanging for treason, so must we. Prim making the "necklace of rope" foreshadows her willingness to join the resistance--even if her mother doesn't want it--and "go to the tree" with the others.
The outfit Katniss wears in this poster was designed by Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) who, Effie informs Katniss, is now dead, but knowing he might not be around, he designed a "revolutionary" outfit for Katniss to wear so she would look the part of a leader when she needed to. Effie helps her get it ready and together as Beetee prepares weapons for her and Gale. Why is this important? It's not important, it's tantamount to all the film-dialogues we have been tracing. One one side, we have the pro-socialists like War Horse,  World War Z (novel) and Fury, and on the other side we have Mockingjay and Interstellar: Cinna, we can say, has a specialized skill, and because of the Hunger Games (a metaphor for the "violence" liberals see in the free market) Cinna is able to not only use his skill, but advertise it as well; additionally, Cinna is doing what he's good at, what he loves to do and what he excels at doing. In this way, work is not just labor for Cinna, it's self-fulfillment. This is the exact opposite of what labor is under socialist rule, where you do  what the state tells you to do because the state needs it done and that's all there is to it; there is no "self-fulfillment," as we saw in Interstellar with Cooper having been an engineer and pilot, and being forced to go into farming instead. We see this enacted in socialism in War Horse (Joey the horse was bred to run, but instead he has to become a "farm horse" and horse of labor) and in the book World War Z, the Hollywood executives having to clean toilets each day is clearly a mis-use of their talents, and the same in Fury: Norman was a clerk, but because the film is anti-American and pro-socialist, Norman goes from being a clerk to a tank gunner (please see Are You My Ghost: Interstellar for more details on this issue). So, even though Cinna doesn't appear in the film, he is still helping Katniss make an impression in the ways that only he can.   
What are the "strange things that have happened here?" Take, for example, a man being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, then going on to kill dozens of people with drones and bragging about it to aides; consider someone sworn in to protect the Constitution, only to tear it up every day of his career; consider a Attorney General who does nothing but violate the law, and an entire administration that considers themselves above the law, not to mention countless lies and the intentional sowing of dissent. Just as the world of Mockingjay is turned upside-down with the many supporting the very few, and then the Capitol retaliating by killing those very people who support them. A deleted scene from Catching Fire shows Finnick teaching Katniss how to tie a knot that happens to be the "hangman's knot". So, The Hanging Tree is an invitation from our Founding Fathers to join them in the fight for freedom (it's possible that, when the lyrics mention, "Strange things have happened," that it's a reference to the Billie Holiday song, Strange Fruit, about lynchings).
This proved to be a great scene. Haymitch hasn't played out his full role yet, but it's been laid in Mockingjay. In this scene, Haymitch has witnessed the disastrous attempts at making a propaganda piece to inform the Districts that Katniss is still alive and leading the revolution against the Capitol, and, as Haymitch says, "That's the way you kill a revolution." So what we have, with Plutarch going and imploring Effie (who doesn't want to be a part of the revolution) to guide Katniss and help her with what she has to do, is two people who--by the standards of the District--are "superfluous" and unnecessary, filling in very necessary roles in the revolution that only they have the expertise to do, and doing it. Effie, who is easily the most "shallow" character by design in the film, is the one who also was genuinely touched by Katniss' heroism. As Haymitch writes in this scene, he scribbles and the board underneath interprets what he writes ("Volunteer 4 sis" into "Volunteer for sister") and makes it legible so all can read it; why is this important? Like the board, we too are supposed to be "interpreting" and "finishing" what Haymitch says and means, because there is a sub-text like the writing beneath what Haymitch writes, and it's through the whole film. 
A great moment in the film is when a group of civilians march, singing the song, and where are they going? Towards a massive dam. Why? It's the source of the Capitol's energy. Now, it would be easy to make the argument that these people are stupid because, had they not been singing, they could have done a better job of getting the explosives into the proper area and more of them would have survived; but that's not the point. The reason they are singing is to let us know that this song is an anthem. When Katniss first sings it, it's for a young man who had his tongue cut out, so he can't speak for himself, but the song speaks for him. This part of the film is even more important because, like so many other points of the film, it's citing a famous World War II Michael Redgrave film, The Dam Busters of 1955. The point of the plot is to develop a bomb that can damage the Germans' dams so they can't build more weapons, which is exactly what happens in Mockingjay, correlating the Capitol to the Nazis (socialists) not capitalism like Collins originally intended. Let's take just a moment, though, to consider the evolution of these three films.
In this scene, Katniss has gone to District 8 where there has been heavy resistance and many casualties. Here, in the hospital, she has vowed to stand and fight with them. A woman asks, when seeing her, "What happened to the baby?" referring to what Peeta told Cesar before the Quarter Quell Games, that Katniss was pregnant, in hopes he could get her out of the Games. Katniss looks at her, knowing she was never pregnant, and says, "I lost it." Symbolically, we know, the "baby" was the intent to destroy the arena; in this sense, we can say Katniss was being accurate, because she didn't know about the revolution, her baby was her plan to somehow bring the Games to an end (as if that would change things) and the destruction of the arena leading to the full-blown revolution, over which she has no control and she mentions to Snow when they talk, is her "losing" the baby of her intended plan. When Katniss goes home to District 12, the total destruction is something we have gotten used to: films with total destruction scenes include Olympus Has Fallen, Star Track Into Darkness, Divergent, Insurgent, The Avengers, The Avengers 2, Godzilla, Transformers 4 and X-Men Days Of Future Past; why have all these films shown us this ruin? Because that's what's happening all around us, the American Apocalypse. 
Gary Ross directed the 2012 release of The Hunger Games, and, with author Suzanne Collins, wrote the screenplay for the film that was overtly anti-capitalist, with the Hunger Games being a metaphor of capitalism (where one business "kills" another business in the free market) and America is being likened to the brutal Roman Republic which provided "bread and circuses" for its people (which is where the Latin word panem comes from); no, it doesn't make sense, but neither do liberals (for a full articulation of why it was pro-socialist, please see The Hunger Games: Hitler & America's Anti-Socialism). When it was time to make the second film, Catching Fire, a miracle happened: Ross was replaced with Francis Lawrence, who ordered script changes. Catching Fire isn't completely pro-capitalist, however, it's significantly more pro-capitalist, and that's probably because Lawrence couldn't get all the changes he wanted (please see Game Masters & Revolution: The Hunger Games Catching Fire for more). With Mockingjay Part 1, Collins' socialist revolution piece has been completely re-worked to back fire on all the liberals, and we know this in two ways: Effie Trinket and Star Wars.
The highlight of the film, for me, was when the camera was turned onto Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin), who has been in a terrible state for most of the film, suffering from survivor's guilt and not knowing if he will see Annie again (who is probably another inter-film dialogue of Annie, the little orphan with bright red hair, and how she was really saved from the orphanage, and not through socialism). Just before Finnick goes on the air, Beetee is getting ready to "pirate" the Capitol airwaves and jokes, "Instead of your regularly scheduled horse manure," and then goes to Finnick; that's fitting, because it's with the horses that Katniss--and we the audience--first meet Finnick and he has the sugar cubes, so Beetee's line about horse manure is meant to jog our memory about our first impression of Finnick. Anyway, Finnick has to talk to consume the airwaves so Gale and a team of rescuers can slip into the Capitol and save Peeta, Johanna and Annie; as Finnick talks (and this could be considered a form of noise because he wants to consume the airwaves of energy) we are given his story, that after he won the Hunger Games, President Snow began prostituting him (and other winners) to his Capitol favorites and allies; had any of the victors refused, Snow would have their loved ones killed. Finnick describes how his "patrons" gave him gifts and money to soothe their guilt over what they did to him, but he soon learned that there was something more valuable: secrets, as he tells Katniss when they meet during Catching Fire. No one has more secrets than President Snow, he reveals, who was so young when he took power, he had to have a means of keeping power, which he did with poison. Fitting that a snake should use poison, Finnick says, because all of Snow's enemies, and even some of his allies who threatened to confess the truth were poisoned by Snow, and Snow would drink the poison just as they did Finnick says, so people couldn't accuse Snow of poisoning people since he drank the same thing, but Snow took the antidote,... but the antidote didn't always work. One time it didn't, leaving Snow with bloody sores in his mouth, which smell bad when he doesn't get his medicine, and why he has white roses close to him at all times: they have been genetically engineered to give off a strong smell and mask the smell of the bloody mouth sores. So, what does this mean? This is probably an intense Hamlet moment for the film, because Obama is being shown what he has done in the guise of Snow. Obama is the fifth youngest president, and, like Snow, there is a  long list of people around Obama who have died, (REMEMBER, Obama told his aides, "I'm really good at killing people," and he has a right to boast on that), including the sudden death of his white grandmother two days before the election (as if she were threatening to divulge something), a woman who asked Obama to examine the events around 9/11 (Obama gave her a plane ticket and the plane crashed and she died) as well as the woman from the Hawaii records department who signed his birth certificate saying it was valid; she was on a plane that crashed but she was the only one who died. There were three men from his church who were known homosexual lovers of Obama and two of the three were shot in the back of the head (as we see happen with the rebels in the film) and the other died of AIDS. There is the entire Navy SEALS team 6--the ones who took out Obama--that died, as well as two FBI agents "falling" out of a helicopter after arresting the Saudi connected to the Boston Bombing. Ambassador Stevens, who was a witness for weapons running to Syria, and the people who tried to save him at Benghazi. The list goes on and on, and there are over forty murders associated with the Clintons. On a slightly different note, when Katniss tries to buy more time by talking to Snow, so Gale and the rescue team can get out, Katniss keeps calling out to President Snow, asking, "Are you there? It's Katniss, I need to talk to you, are you there?" and what does this remind you of? It goes on and on and on, just like the kids summoning the spirits in Ouija, another anti-socialist film (really, it goes on for like a minute, Katniss calling out, and it's like she's trying to talk through a Ouija board). 
Before we get too deep, let's talk about an important plot point, and then we can dive in. Why is so much time spent "prepping" Katniss to be the Mockingjay? Why do we see her trying to make successful "propaganda" pieces to inspire the Districts to unite and rebel? For at least two reasons. First, Mockingjay itself is a propaganda piece to prepare and unite us to rebel against the tyranny of the current administration (every facet of this film is carefully pieced together to show us, like in a handbook, how to put a revolution together so we can); please keep in mind that, on the same day Mockingjay has been released, Barack Hussein Obama has signed himself into being the "American Emperor" with the unlawful and unconstitutional amnesty executive order. Secondly, the film prepares us for the use of the Left's own "face of the revolution," with people like Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, etc., and how both sides can and will successfully employ the same tools to achieve the same ends, but for different ideologies.
"He's still playing the game," Katniss tells Gale when they watch Peeta's interview and he tries defending Katniss and insisting they knew nothing of the revolution. In other words, Peeta uses the Capitol's "strategies" for being famous and double-talk against them. At one point, Katniss and Finnick discuss what Finnick first thought of Katniss, and how Finnick didn't believe they were in love, "It was a good strategy," he said, but he did believe later. Why is this important? Creativity. Game theory, as we know, is based on rules, or play (the absence of rules, or the creative interpretation of rules). People like Snow make rules to benefit himself and keep everyone else under his thumb (the rules of having a Hunger Games each year, for example); "play" is when there is a creative interpretation of the rules, or a total absence of rules, so that engagement becomes more equal, for example, Katniss realizing she could use the arena against itself to destroy it was an act of "play" because that wasn't in the rules for the Games, but it also wasn't NOT in the rules. When Peeta suddenly realizes that Katniss may still be alive, because he hears the pirate broadcast Beetee has sent via the Capitol broadcasts, Peeta breaks his demeanor and alerts Katniss that "They're coming," and they will all be dead by morning. Please note Peeta's posture in this image: he's grabbing his leg with both hands; why? Our legs symbolize our "standing" in society, our reputation; Peeta knows that the only thing keeping him alive is his standing at the Capitol, so he's holding onto that with everything he has.
There are at least three references to Star Wars in the film. The first is the look of the peacekeeper soldiers, who look like storm troopers from the films. Why? Because the storm troopers themselves were inspired by the soldiers of communism during the Cold War; in America, we don't have soldiers/policeman carrying guns asking for papers and identification; we go wherever we want, when we want. So having "peacekeepers" is as alien to us as an emperor, but absolutely essential in a system that has an emperor, be it Snow or Obama.
In this scene, peacekeepers "escort" the loggers out to the forest as a loud speaker announces that they have to work an additional two hours that day, and the Capitol has increased their quota. Without a doubt, this sounds like the socialist system, randomly assigning quotas and increasing them according to their needs (they have been increased so they don't have time to plan and plot against the Capitol). We could say, however, that this scene provides an additional reference to Star Wars: Return Of the Jedi when the ewoks, in a similar landscape, take on the Empire and storm troopers and defeat them as the loggers do in this scene.
So the peacekeepers reach back in our memory to align the peacekeepers with the communist military of the Dark Side (like when the people are coming to bust the dam, and the camera holds on the mask of one of the peacekeepers and you can't see any human qualities about him at all; that's a warning of what we will become if we allow socialism to continue).  Secondly, JJ Abrams' film comes out next year, just after the fourth and final installment of Mockingjay Part II, so this is a way for Francis Lawrence to align his films with Abrams', showing that they are saying the same things (please see caption below).
There's an interesting little detail on this poster: please look at the peacekeeper's left arm, beside that, is written "Dec 2"(you can click on the image to enlarge); why? I have no idea. We might keep that in mind though, just in case something happens on this date. Now, what about "originality" in film and art in general? As we have discussed before, originality isn't as interesting to me as the same themes that keep coming up over and over again; when a film "quotes" another film, by providing a scene that is meant to intentionally conjure up another film in the viewer's mind, the film makers are expanding their cinematic vocabulary to add depth without having to take extra time to do it. So, for example, when we think of Panem, we are supposed to also think of the Empire in Star Wars, and the Death Star, we are supposed to think of Nazi Germany and through the film The Dam Busters, and, I think, perhaps even Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows because, when Katniss is in District 8, two tall stone towers fall like we see when Holmes and Watson are sneaking into Moriarty's compound and Holmes steals the little red notebook. Again, this doesn't display a lack of originality on behalf of the film makers, rather, it pays homage to their favorite films and creates unity with other films so we know what they are talking about and what they all want to be saying.
The third reference to Star Wars comes from Gale: after the rescue mission has returned, Gale tells Katniss that the Capitol knew they were there, but just let them escape; the exact same thing happens in Star Wars when the Millennium Falcon is "allowed" to escape because it has a tracking device on it and the Emperor wants to know where the rebel base is; even though Mockingjay Part 1 doesn't get into this, Peeta, Annie and Johanna surely have some kind of device planted on/in them so the Capitol's outdated information on the "rebel base" can be updated and they can wipe them out once and for all.
Effie has, without a doubt, the most important line in the film ("Anything old can become new again, even democracy,") but she didn't want to be part of the revolution, she wanted to be back in the Capitol; only accidentally, we could say, does she get caught up in the events. When Haymitch tells her, "I like you a lot better without all your make-up," and she replies, "I like you a lot better sober," we have a parallel created between Haymitch detoxing, or "drying out," as they say, and Effie going sober from her wigs, lashes, clothes and accessories, even though we see her wearing a gold mesh glove on her left hand, revealing that she's having every bit of difficulty letting go as Haymitch of sobering up. This may come back to destroy Effie, but since she is solely the creation of the film makers', and doesn't exist in the books beyond Catching Fire, we don't know what Effie's fate is. Something that is important is that Effie's scarf on her head is tied in a knot, and Finnick has been tying knots. Finnick, being from the fishing district, knows how to tie knots because that's an imperative skill there; Effie tying a successful knot is the same thing, but different, in other words, it's an "play" on one concept to create two different ones. This is probably going to be more prominent in the next film.
As I mentioned, Effie was not included in the book Mockingjay but Francis Lawrence felt she needed to be in the films, so Effie is a complete creation of his, not Suzanne Collins'. Effie doesn't have her wigs, so she mentions that she remembered when she was young how wearing a scarf knotted was popular, "And anything that was old can be made new again, even democracy." What we have here is a device that we saw used in Fast and Furious 6: the dumbest character is given a brilliant line to utter so the truth of it can't be argued with (like Roman realizing they are "fighting their evil twins"). There has been considerable debate and confusion over what the films advocate (as described above) but Effie validating that the rebellion seeks to establish democracy insures that we know Snow is the opposite of democracy, and the Capitol isn't "Capitalism," rather, the small, decadent group of leaders in communist countries.
When we first see Prim, she is brushing out Katniss' hair, because that's what Prim does, she "calms" Katniss and takes out the "knots" from her thinking (hair symbolizes our thoughts). Katniss' hair is darker in this film, and it's down; why? Because she is having darker thoughts and she isn't as good at disciplining herself interiorly as she was in the past, too much has happened. Prim, on the other hand, has matured and grown, learning from her sister and taking her lead, but that doesn't mean that Prim thinks less of her sister. .Why does Prim run back for her cat, Buttercup, when the Capitol starts bombing them? That seems pretty dumb, doesn't it? Well, unlike Katniss who has two suitors, Prim doesn't have anyone to love besides her mother and Katniss, so she doesn't have someone to love romantically and, therefore, can't develop naturally. Of course it was an act of love for Katniss to volunteer for Prim, but this is a difference between "socialist mentalities" and why people accept socialism, and capitalist mentalities and they refuse to accept socialism: tough love. In A Good Day To Die Hard, Bruce Willis' character asks his son, played by Jai Courtney, "Need a hug?" and his son responds, "We aren't really a hugging family," and Willis says, "Damn straight." Not everyone can do everything, but we don't know what we are capable of until we are put in trying circumstances, as with Beasts Of the Southern Wild. Prim, then, is stuck in a "prism" because she hasn't really been allowed to suffer (and don't get me wrong: unless you are a saint, and even then it's doubtful, no one WANTS to suffer, but that's the "tough love" that people with common sense recognize, if you don't permit life to knock you around, you're going to stay a sissy you're whole life and that's not going to be good for anyone). Prim doesn't really belong in this world anymore than Buttercup does.
One of the intriguing things we see Katniss do at least three times in the film is hold/rub a small, silver ball; why? The purpose and origin of the ball have not yet been revealed, however, it begs a comparison with the Biblical tale of David and Goliath: David, much smaller than the giant Goliath, successfully overcomes Goliath with a small pebble he hurls from his slingshot. Essentially, Katniss-as-the-Mockingjay is the "pebble" Plutarch and Coin hope to hurl at the Capitol to bring them down, but it's going to have greater significance in the next film.
Why does Gale have such a hard time of it? Because, like the "girl on fire," Gale is a "force," the wind, and Katniss will take comfort in his strength but, ultimately, she doesn't want to always have to be strong, which is what she is when she's with Gale; when she's with Peeta, because he's more gentle, Katniss becomes more gentle. On a larger scale, this relationship triangle reveals the deep hatred author Suzanne Collins has for America: she doesn't want an America that is strong and courageous, risk-taking and a "force to be reckoned with," rather, she wants a gentle, wall-flower kind of America, like Peeta's character. 
At one point, Coin allows Gale and Katniss to go outside of the bunker to hunt. As they walk through the woods, Katniss sees a large buck drinking water. She pulls her arrow to shoot him and then he looks up at her and goes back to drinking water, not at all scared of her. "He's never been hunted," Gale tells her, it almost doesn't seem fair. Katniss lowers her bow and doesn't shoot him. This is a foreshadowing of what is going to happen with Katniss and Snow. Like the buck, Snow has never been hunted, he's never starved or been hunted; he's made himself the top of the Capitol food chain. He will be hunted, though, and Katniss will make the same decision with Snow that she has made with the buck. Speaking of "hunting," let's turn our attention to why Peeta attacks Katniss.
This is a disturbing moment for Katniss because she finds the rose Snow had left amidst all the dead ones, and his rose is still alive and shows no sign of decay. Just as socialism has been kept alive "artificially," because it can't successfully flourish anywhere (no, China has had to adopt sweeping economic reforms so the country can make money to continue "living socialist," and countries such as Vietnam and North Korea are too small and isolated [there is no way of judging its success because they don't allow anyone in, and they have horrible records of human rights violations, there is almost no literacy or health care]). Just before this scene, Buttercup came through the window; what does that mean? Even though the cat is Prim's pet, it's a symbol for "Kat-niss," (don't forget Gale calling her catnip) and that's because Buttercup is cranky and ill-tempered like Katniss herself. When Katniss put her leather jacket on (leather is animal skin, so she's like Riddick [Vin Diesel] putting her survival mentality back on so she's tough), and the cat coming through the window (window symbolizing "reflection") reveals that Katniss knows what she has to do: snap out of it and get to work. What do all the white roses Snow has dropped on the ground at the rebel base mean? Snow erroneously believes that his artificiality is going to overwhelm and conquer, not only Katniss, but the entire rebellion, because it's helped him conquer Panem. Just as the white roses look natural, so, too, does socialism, until the artificial and brutal means of sustaining it are realized, just like the genetic engineering of the roses.
As Plutarch explains, Peeta has been highjacked: like a plane taken over by terrorists, and like Bucky Barnes in Captain America the Winter Soldier, Snow has used torture enhanced with trackerjack venom to change Peeta's belief system about Katniss and the Capitol, so that he's now been trained to kill Katniss when he sees her, believing she is a threat to him because he has been taught to fear her. What does this mean? It accurately describes the way liberals behave towards conservatives: homicidal. As Snow has torn Katniss and Peeta apart, so Obama has torn America apart with the venom he feeds to "minority groups" such as the Ferguson protesters and Occupy Wall Street.
This is an interesting shot: Coin's hair looks like it's all the same color. We know a point is to be made regarding Coin's hair because Effie comments on how awful it is: her two-toned hair suggests she is of "two-minds," first about whether or not Katniss is important, and then about her conditions regarding the victors and their guilt. In this shot, however, with Katniss and Coin holding hands, united, they look like they are of the same mind. This is building for the last film.
Like Peeta trying to strangle Katniss, liberals also try to strangle the "voice" of conservatives, with bullying, mockery and even legislation (Democrat Senators are trying to do-away with the First Amendment which guarantees the Freedom of Speech). As we know, the neck symbolizes what leads us, it acts like a leash, so Peeta damaging Katniss by her throat and her having to wear a neck brace suggests that, what has been leading Katniss on (rescuing Peeta and the others) has not backfired and, as Snow predicted, will destroy her (but not really): how? because they have some kind of "tracker" on them. BUT, Snow has underestimated Katniss,...
Cressida is a director from the Capitol who escaped with her film crew to help Katniss. While a minor character, her "costume" is well-developed to communicate, not only about her character, but about film makers in general. It would be easy to view her as an opportunist, as when she's filming Katniss after the Capitol has destroyed a hospital full of wounded people, and Cressida tries getting a reaction from Katniss she can film and use for the propos. This isn't the case, however; the green vines on the side of her head show directly how her thoughts (her creativity) gives birth to new life (the vines) and that being creative and giving new life to something (in this case, the rebellion) is what leads and guides her (the vine tattoo on her neck). 
Those who have no heart, don't know how strong it is. As Snow tries to convince Katniss, "It's the thing we love most that destroy us. I want you to remember that I told you that." What Snow doesn't realize, because he has never loved anyone, is that it's the love that makes it possible to go on. Coin alludes to this briefly while Katniss awaits word of Gale and the rescue mission. In spite of Snow trying to destroy Peeta, and the tracking device leading him to where they are, the cruelty Snow has inflicted upon Peeta fuels Katniss and her determination to end the Capitol.
This is an interesting scene. Katniss and the film makers are having lunch by the river and a mockingjay flies up; Katniss or Gale sings the mockingjay call, then all the mockingjays in the area start singing it and it echoes off the stone walls, then Katniss is asked to start singing so she sings The Hanging Tree, and in the next scene, we see the dam busters singing it as well. This is part of the "art of revolution" they are teaching to the audience, what is required of leadership so that, like the mockingjays all making their noise, the voice of direction and unity doesn't get lost, but they are all united, as in the next scene.
Again, we see this exact argument used about American soldiers during World War II in Emperor with Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox, that American soldiers are too soft (they have too many feelings) but it's exactly because of their humanity that they can endure and fight for what they love and believe in (and I am confident we will see this in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken next month). What about the place where Gale finds Peeta, Johanna and Annie?
The Capitol has always suppressed communication between the different Districts, Beetee tells Katniss, but it's even worse during the rebellion going on. Why is Beetee in a wheelchair? They don't go into it, but it's most likely that, when Katniss destroyed the arena, not only did she temporarily become paralyzed, but Beetee did permanently. It's possible that, symbolically, this is a sign of his "wounded" pride: Katniss figured out how to do what Beetee didn't. 
The facility where the Capitol was torturing the victors was a medical facility; now, who in history has used its prisoners for medical tests? The Nazis, and we saw this in Cowboys and Aliens (please see Cowboys and Aliens: the US-British Alliance for more) and with Bolivar Trask in X-Men Days Of Future Past (and this will have greater significance in the Mockingjay 2). What does Peeta, Johanna and Annie look like when they are with the others? Exactly like prisoners from concentration camps. They are all, literally, skin and bones, especially the strong-willed Johanna; they have been beaten and tortured and their eyes are dark hollows in their head. Because socialists have no value for human life, there is no sanctity to defending it; for Katniss, however, she values human life absolutely, meaning, it doesn't matter who it is, what matters is that they are human. Ultimately, this will be the conflict that forms between Katniss and Coin. Speaking of Coin,...
So, hair symbolizes the thoughts; then what does this mean? There are two elements, the color and the style. The lavender suggests homosexuality, but this doesn't have to be overt: Cesar and Peeta have been discussing how Katniss might have known about the rebellion and "turned" on the Capitol, after the "Capitol adored her and did so much for her," and she's part of this terrible rebellion, and is biting the hand that fed her, specifically Cesar who favored Katniss above the others: this is probably why his hair is standing straight up, like "getting your back up," when Buttercup "bristles" with displeasure, we see Cesar, in a rather emotional interview, also getting his back up and his hair illustrates  his "distressed" emotional state and that Cesar's affection is switching towards Peeta. The eyes are the windows of the soul, and the "eye brows" are part of the eyes, so what do the lavender eye brows suggest? Generally, we have thoughts that come and go, change and grow; the soul grows steadily, but seems to remain unchanged immediately. Cesar's eyebrows matching his hair (his soul reflecting the same thing that is going on in his mind) suggests that Cesar is incredibly shallow, that there is no depth to his soul, that whatever passes his mind, becomes his soul because he doesn't give a thought to his soul, only his appearance.
She has a pretty good showing in this film: her wise judgment in not retaliating against the Capitol for firing on the rebel base saves the lives of all them and she is able to build on Katniss' image to unite the districts and pose a formidable threat to Snow. Coin's best moment, however, is when she addresses all those at the rebel base and tells them the victors have been liberated, they will no longer endure injustice, but have elected leaders, and they will get to share the fruits of their labors instead of fighting each other for scraps like they do now. These can all be directed against the Obama administration since 2008, so this speech is quite the rallying call against the Department of Justice (which is anything but just) and Obama himself because of the abuses they have piled up like the incinerated corpses of District 12.
I hope I have at least suggested how integrated and self-aware Francis Lawrence has created the film, because it is. I usually only get to see a film once, and then immediately have to start writing the post, so I don't get much time to think on things, or to go back and pick up things I might have missed the first time; the first viewing is a go, so if I have missed things, and I certainly have, it's my fault, not the film's. In this image, we see Pollux, the one who has had his tongue cut out and can't speak. The moment you see here doesn't happen, that is, he--nor the rest of the film crew--get in battle gear, so the poster of them dressed as such is interesting, and accurate. Making this movie, Mockingjay, is a battle, it's part of the artillery of war, so this is more of a self-portrait for Francis Lawrence than of the character Pollux, but it also illustrates what we have been discussing the last two years, and that is the active role films have been taking in the "revolution," either to advance socialism or defend capitalism, and how the movies really are at "war" with one another.
At the very beginning of the film, we see Katniss crouched in a dark corner, hyperventilating, and repeating basic identity information about herself to herself; why? If you lose your identity, you lose your way, and--just like Katniss--America needs to do the same thing, remember who we are. I actually wasn't expecting very much, from Mockingjay, and I was completely wrong: Francis Lawrence has made a politically compelling film, and a symbolically rich narrative; if you think you are going to be bored, then that's my fault, not the film makers'. This is a powerful film and a film that could trigger political consequences.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner