The Palace of Fine Arts Becomes Panem

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Caitlin Mayo
Staff Writer

The world of Panem has been brought to life here in San Francisco at Exhibition Hall of the Palace of Fine Arts, transporting you into the world of the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games Exhibition invites you not only to admire the costumes and props from the films but to walk in the footsteps of the Mockingjay, Katniss Everdeen.

The Exhibition displays over 1000 props and 46 costumes straight from the films, set to appear as they would from scenes of the movie. As you pass through the exhibit, you feel as if you are walking through the black market of Katniss’s home District 12, boarding the luxurious Tribute Train, and dining decadently in the imposing Capitol. The experience is very interactive, allowing you to play with the Gamemakers’ table, to flip through Cinna’s design sketchbook, to insert yourself into a tribute’s chariot, and to fuel the revolution by creating a “propo,” an illegal broadcast used during the film to garner support from the unhappy citizens of Panem.

The effort to connect the Hunger Games was very clear from the onset, beginning with an introduction film narrated by Elizabeth Banks upon entering the exhibit.  Along the way, the exhibit informs you of real-world inspirations that came into play during the development of the film and books, such as the various locations and art movements (take imposing Soviet architecture, for instance) that inspired the architecture of the Capitol, and the role of entertainment in our society’s politics being a major theme explored in the books and films.

For anyone interested in film production, the exhibit was very informative in the development of the films. From location choices to fashion inspiration, the attention to detail is meticulous. Many of the costumes were created by costume designer Trish Summerville, whose Effie Trinket outfits were centerpieces in many of the costume displays. Other behind-the-scenes pieces featured included the hologram technology used throughout the films, the almost unwalkable heels designed for Effie, and a deleted scene hydroponics set that was intended for several District 13 scenes. The hydroponics set was meant to show how District 13 sustained itself. The set itself grew actual plants and vegetables three months before the set was used.

It is remarkably easy to immerse yourself in the exhibit. The exhibit is located near the Palace of Fine Arts in the Innovation Hangar, providing an ample amount of space and allowing the exhibit to be twice the size it was in New York. Also, because the exhibit is in the quiet Marina district it isn’t too crowded, allowing visitors to peruse in peace. However, what really contributed to the exhibit experience were the curators, who provided ample information about the exhibit and shared small facts not on the displays. The curators themselves are fans of the Hunger Games, very passionate and enthusiastic about the exhibit. The Hunger Games Exhibition is spot-on, authentic, and a must-see for any ally of the revolution.

Photo courtesy of The Hunger Games The Exhibition

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