La Haine

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Haine.jpg
La Haine cover, with the strapline Jusqu'ici tout va bien… ("Until now, everything is going OK…")

La Haine ("Hate") is a French black-and-white film directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, released in 1995. It is a dark urban thriller which has been called France's answer to Do the Right Thing. It explores themes of racism, violence and disaffected youth in modern suburban Paris. A riot has broken out in a slum, and been quelled by the police. The film depicts twenty-four hours of the lives of three teenage friends in that slum.

Contents

Plot and characters

Vinz, (Vincent Cassel) who is Jewish, is filled with rage. He sees himself as a thug, modeled after Robert DeNiro's "Travis Bickle" from Taxi Driver. Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui), an Arab, is the trio's constantly-talking voice of reason. Hubert (Hubert Koundé), who is black, is a boxer, quietly pouring his energy into making something of himself and getting out of the ghetto. A friend of theirs has been beaten up in police custody. This sets off a series of events that take the three down a path of destruction. Vinz finds a policeman's gun, and vows that if their friend dies in police custody, he will kill a cop.

Impact of the film

Director Mathieu Kassovitz delivers a powerfully emotional comment on the state of French society and the problems caused by urban deprivation. "La Haine" features sterling perfomances by all three main actors, especially Cassel whose portrayal of Vinz launched him to stardom.

The film was a huge commercial success and provoked much debate in France over its unflinching presentation of urban violence; the then-prime minister Alain Juppé was reported to have arranged a special screening and ordered his entire cabinet to watch the film, and police guards at the screening are said to have turned their backs on the film in protest of its portrayal of police brutality. Kassovitz won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996 and the movie was nominated for the Palme d'Or; the film also picked up the César Award for Best Picture.

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