© LEONINE Distribution GmbH

Die Tribute von Panem - The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes)
U.S.A. 2023

Opening 16 Nov 2023

Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Writing credits: Michael Lesslie, Michael Arndt, Suzanne Collins
Principal actors: Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Viola Davis, Fionnula Flanagan, Hunter Schafer

“Tributes” are children ages twelve to eighteen from the state of Panem, who fight each other to the death in the Hunger Games. Food is an award for winning. The plot is divided into three parts. In Part I: The Mentor, Dean Casta Highbottom (Peter Dinklage) has organized the games, but a proper audience is missing. Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), expecting great responsibilities (which eventually happen, even later becoming the president of Panem), is disappointed to be the mentor of Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a young girl from District 12 who enjoys performing on TV in a group called Covey. During Part II: The Prize, Lucy wants to save her friend Jessup (Nick Beson) from fighting in the games. Of the last 24 participants, only 13 survived. More fighting leaves us with seven survivors. Snakes crawl out of a huge container to cover the corpses. Lucy wins a powder compact (with a deadly content). In Part III: The Peacekeeper, Coriolanus Snow has moved to District 12 where he serves as a soldier. There is a party, where Lucy wants to play her guitar and argues with Billy Taupe, who would rather play his accordion. More deaths follow, as well as searches for murderers, which bring us to the hanging tree. There is no hope. “The things we love most destroy us.” And so it goes until the end, supported by the song “Can’t Catch Me Now” by Olivia Rodrigo.

This is the fifth Hunger Games film; with the first appearing in 2012, all based on novels by Suzanne Collins. This version is a prequel showing us how the Hunger Games began 64 years earlier. The tributes are locked up behind bars and seldom considered to be human beings. Loyal fans, well acquainted with the four previous Hunger Games films, will follow the plot (easier than I did), all supported by a huge cast. My favorite is Peter Dinklage who plays Highbottom. Now I hope to research the prior films to catch up with this popular topic, and I now know to “smile because that’s why we have teeth.” (Becky Tan)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.