“Hunger Games” vs. “Citizen Kane”

We have hundreds of students taking film and move-making classes at Cuyahoga Community College each year. Film Appreciation, Screenwriting, and American Cinema are some of the courses we offer in my area, Journalism/Mass Communications.

So, what if we looked at the 2016 presidential election contest through the lens of Hollywood? J.J. Abrams, Nancy Meyers, Steven Spielberg, or Kathryn Bieglow would have no trouble coming up with appropriate roles for our leading contenders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

With each day’s revelations from WikiLeaks, Hillary Clinton more and more perfectly seems to match the character of Coriolanus Snow (actor Donald Sutherland) from the “Hunger Games” series of films. Snow is the manipulative president of Panem, willing to do anything to its citizens to maintain rule.  All power resides in the capitol, which controls the food supplies, schools, and just about every aspect of the population’s daily lives. Snow ruthlessly maintains iron first rule over an underfed and overworked population, even ordering carpet bombing of District 12 to save the capitol and preserve power.

snow and kane.pngCasting Central would find the perfect role for Donald Trump to be that of Charles Foster Kane (actor and director Orson Welles), lead character in Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane.” Like Trump, Kane makes his fame and fortune outside of the political arena, then enters politics for the first time by running for governor. He repeatedly accused his opponent, J.W. Gettys, of corruption in the general election. Kane seems headed for election, until Gettys makes public the fact that Kane is having an extramarital affair. Kane is disgraced and Gettys wins the contest.

No analogy will match a situation perfectly. Hillary Clinton wouldn’t murder or torture her opponents, as Snow does in the “Hunger Games” movies. And Kane? Well, in “Citizen Kane” he made his fortune as a newspaper publisher and editor. Last time I checked closely, it was just about impossible to find anything positive about Trump in most newspapers.

We’ve all heard the phrase that art imitates life. Yet in the 2016 election, is it the other way around?

QUOTES

“Hope: it is the only thing stronger than fear.”  — Coriolanus Snow

“My first official act as Governor … will be to appoint a Special District Attorney to arrange for the indictment, prosecution, and conviction of Boss Jim W. Gettys!” — Charles Foster Kane

SOURCES

http://thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/Coriolanus_Snow

http://thecollegeconservative.com/2012/03/23/the-hunger-games-and-the-united-states/

http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0003575/bio

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechcitizenkane2.html

 

“Hunger Games” movies are from author Suzanne Collins’ series of similarly-titled novels.

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