PANEM today, Panem tomorrow, Panem forever.” You need to watch the chilling new teaser for the next Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay. Its cool irony confirms the series’s remarkable journey from minor young adult diversion to cultural milestone. The series of thrillers is no cinematic masterpiece, but 30 years on from 1984 it is helping inoculate a new generation against the horror and seductions of tyranny.
On its surface, the trailer is a political broadcast on behalf of the enemy. The autocratic President Snow, clad in stylish white, murmurs of the elegance of his system while words like prosperity and unity flash up on the screen. Next to him, Hunger Games survivor Peeta Mellark stares beatifically into the middle distance.
But it is all a mirage. Those who know the story will appreciate that drugs have reduced Peeta to a government stooge, just as they know Snow’s superficial glamour for a savage lie. And as his broadcast continues, everyone can hear the violent threat that underpins his power. “If you resist the system, you starve yourself. If you fight against it, it is you who will bleed.” Instead of Orwell’s boot stamping on humanity forever, it is the unending rule of Snow and his kind that is rubbed in our faces as it concludes.