Revisiting Panem, the dystopian country in which The Hunger Games novels and movies are set, in prequel film The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes offered director Francis Lawrence an opportunity to present the world through a new lens. Set 64 years before those earlier works, the new film (based on a 2020 novel of the same name) showcases the familiar country just 10 years post-war—the thriving political Capitol, 12 outlying districts. As part of reconstruction, the Capitol has introduced the series' titular competition.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows future Panem president Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), who is assigned to mentor District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) in the 10th annual Hunger Games. Coriolanus, portrayed in the original series by Donald Sutherland, comes into his villainy over the course of this entry. Lawrence, who directed several prior films in the franchise, wanted to ensure the action in the ornate Capitol and gritty District 12 felt grounded. To do that, he used real locations in Germany and Poland, including Berlin, Wroclaw, Duisburg, Dusseldorf and Leipzig, as well as natural areas in southwest Poland.
“I didn't want to be in giant green screen and blue screen environments and to be doing everything digitally,” Lawrence says. “It’s not as immersive for the actors or the crew and I wanted to root everything in reality.”
Here Lawrence discusses where some of the pivotal scenes were shot and how it compares to the Panem fans already know.
Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) is reaped in District 12, a gritty coal-mining district that Lawrence and company built in Duisburg, Germany's Landscape Park.
Did you use any locations you had used on the previous Hunger Games films?
We did shoot a little bit of the Mockingjay movies in Berlin and there was one building that we shared with this film, but we used different rooms. Having been there on the Mockingjay movies, I had certain places in my head and then we started working with Uli Hanisch, the production designer, who is Berlin-based. When we started research where we thought we could find the places we needed, we discovered that Berlin had the perfect things.
How much of the film is locations and how much is set builds?
99 percent is [real]. We built the Snow apartment. We shot in it a few times, so we had a pristine version for the end of the movie and more dilapidated versions. We also built an exterior set, which was the zoo where the tributes are held.
That wasn’t a real zoo?
It was not! We shot it in [Britzer Garten], a park in Berlin. We found this great roundabout that was part of a little road and we took it over and fenced it all in and made a backing. It fully looked like an old
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Cycling boosts health, offers affordable transportation – and it’s fun. Few countries embrace biking more enthusiastically than the Netherlands, where it is deeply ingrained in its cultural DNA. On average, each Dutch resident has 1.3 bicycles and there is an extensive network of cycle paths – more than 37,000 km (nearly 23,000 miles) – nationwide, according to the country’s official tourism board.
The Connaught is a beloved five-star oasis of indulgence conveniently located in Mayfair. Guests return year after year for exceptional service, stunning rooms and consistently fabulous meals. The property becomes even more special as the holidays approach and guests are welcomed with special Christmas trees and festive holiday menus. This year’s tree was designed by influential British artist and sculptor Dame Rachel Whiteread. It sits outside the hotel and is decorated with over 100 circular neon white hoops, encouraging everyone to celebrate a feeling of togetherness.
In August 1944, the coastal Breton city of Saint-Malo was nearly wiped off the map. The opening scene of the Netflix limited series All the Light We Cannot See conjures the ferocity of the battle: an American squadron traverses the English Channel in darkness, dodges anti-aircraft fire, then releases its bombs on the Nazi-occupied French port.
While noting that measurement of GHG emissions in tourism is still in its early stages, the report found a new generation of tools and resources is emerging. These focus on enabling easy access and making use of commonly available data sources, showing progress towards integrated measurement and targeted guidance for more efficient reporting and more effective decarbonization efforts.
Beyond Epoka’s grand, neo-Renaissance facade, a theatre-inspired interior welcomes diners. And the show begins swiftly. Within minutes of entering the landmark restaurant that overlooks Warsaw’s elegant Ogród Saski (Saxon Garden), I’m enjoying the pleasant bitterness of a cynar negroni and admiring plush velvet booths in shades of blue and green. Chef Marcin Przybysz approaches my cosy seating, accompanied by a giant bowl overflowing with fresh produce. He shows me some garden-fresh lettuce, a piece of wasabi root and honey so local it comes from beehives on the roof of the building.
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