The film follows three young men and their time spent in the French suburban "ghetto," over a span of twenty-four hours. Vinz, a Jew, Saïd, an Arab, and Hubert, a black boxer, have grown up in these French suburbs where high levels of diversity coupled with the racist and oppressive police force have raised tensions to a critical breaking point. During the riots that took place a night before, a police officer lost his handgun in the ensuing madness, only to leave it for Vinz to find. Now, with a newfound means to gain the respect he deserves, Vinz vows to kill a cop if his friend Abdel dies in the hospital, due the beating he received while in police custody.Written by
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #381. See more »
The trip across Paris is strange : the three characters should arrive at the Saint-Lazare station(north-west of Paris), coming from ChanteloupLesVignes. Yet, when they arrive, they are in front of the Montparnasse station(south of Paris), on the Rennes street. Then, they go to Asterix place, on the boulevard Pierre Ier of Serbia, close to Iena Place (west of Paris), and when they try to catch the last train, this time they are at the Saint-Lazare station, the right one to go back. But then, when they are on the roof, they see the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero from the south-east, being probably close to Montparnasse station. Then, they come across a sculpture, L'Ecoute, in the Halles Garden(center of Paris), before going back. Hence, their trip goes : south, west, north-west, south and center of Paris. See more »
In some English language subtitled (mainly American) versions the reference to the character of Said's friend who lives in the "posh towers" is 'Snoopy'. However, the untranslated dialogue says 'Asterix' and the woman who Vinz speaks to on the intercom laughs and says 'No, but his friend Obelix is here', whereas the translated version says 'No, but his friend Charlie Brown is.'. The reason Asterix and Obelix were changed to Snoopy and Charlie Brown in the subtitled version was because a lot of people are more familiar with those characters and possibly wouldn't understand the joke relating to Asterix and Obelix, which are two best friends in various French cartoon books by Goscinny & Uderzo. See more »
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Hate Begets Hate
Reminiscent of Costas-Gavras' film Z with its rapid-fire dialogue and staccato rhythms, La Haine (Hate) directed by 28 year-old Mathieu Kassovitz, is a passionate look at racial tensions at a Paris housing project. Although drug dealing, urban decay, and police brutality have been shown in films before, rarely have they had the sense of vitality and urgency shown in La Haine.
Three friends from different ethnic backgrounds live in the Bluebell housing projects on the outskirts of Paris. This is not the Paris of travel brochures or films like Amelie, but a desolate urban landscape, harsh and grim with housing projects that look as if they could be in any big city in the world. Vinz (Vincent Cassel), is a working class Jew; Hubert (Hubert Kounde), the most intelligent and self-reflective of the three, is an African boxer; and Said (Said Taghmaoui), an Arab from North Africa is younger but just as embittered.
The film depicts their rage against the police whom they see as oppressors. Marginalized economically and politically, without jobs, parents who care, or hope for the future, the streets are their home and they are open targets for police who are shown as brutal and racist. In one startling scene, a veteran cop taunts and physically abuses Said and Hubert while training a rookie cop. The rookie can only look on and shake his head in disbelief.
Shot in black and white, La Haine shows a single day in the lives of the three friends. Following a major riot in which a local teenager, Abdel, is critically wounded by the police, Vinz, the most volatile of the group, vows that if Abdel dies he will kill a cop to get even. Hubert wants to restrain him, and Said doesn't seem to care either way, as long as he can get his money from a drug dealer named Snoopy. When Vinz finds a Smith & Wesson 44 lost by the police during the riots, the spiral of violence escalates and builds toward a memorable conclusion.
La Haine does not offer any solutions to social problems but clearly shows the anger and frustration of people who feel trapped by their circumstances. In its depiction of a society in free-fall, it also has immediacy. Three weeks after the film was released, riots broke out in the Brixton section of London, following the death of a young black man in police custody. Though it is a wake-up call for action on society's growing gap between rich and poor, La Haine makes a powerful statement that violence does not solve anything and that hate begets hate. Someone should pass the word to a few of the world leaders.
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