La Haine (1995) Mathieu Kassovitz First impressions of the Film and its charactersMake notes on the following: did you like it and why, did you hate it – why?Who are these characters and what did you think of them?
Film NarrativeApply Todorov’s theory of equilibrium to the FilmEquilibrium –Disruption to the Equilibrium –
Attempt to repair the equilibrium –New Equilibrium –Would it be possible to apply Propp’s theory of character types to this film?HeroVillainHelperDonorFalse Hero
Princess Social Historical and PoliticalBelow is a list of contextual factors, try to comment on their relevance to the film andhow you read it.Social, historical and political ContextsThe projects or, les banlieues: • Les banlieues are satellite ‘new towns’ (for which read housing estates for the poor) up to twenty miles out of Paris that almost seem designed to keep the poor out of the middle-class centre of the city o • The ‘new town’ in which La Haine was filmed had at the time an official population of 10,000 made up of sixty different nationalities or ethnicities o • These are stereotyped in the media as places of urban deprivation crime and drug use. oThe French Empire and Imperialism...
• France was a major colonial power in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with colonies in Africa, the Carribean and Sout-East Asia. o • The struggle for independence was particularly bitter in some countries such as Algeria (which gained independence in 1962) and Vietnam (where the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954). o • Some colonies, like Martinique, remain and are able to send representatives to the French Assembley. Other former colonies, like Senegal, remain closely linked to France and French culture. o • French policy towards non – white ethnic groups has always been on of ‘assimilation’ with people being expected to take on French cultural norms and values. Many Algerians, Moroccans Tunisians, in particular, who went to France to work during the 1960s, have to a greater or lesser extent resisted this policy. o • Maintaining the purity of the French language both at home and abroad was given a much higher priority than the British gave to upholding the English usage in their colonies o • Verlan, or ‘backslang’, began around Paris in the 1980s, among second generation ethnic minority young people who saw themselves as positioned between their parents’ culture and French culture. oRacism • Immigration was limited by the French government during the economic crisis of the early 1970s. o
• Fascist far-right groups (as in many other European countries during the period) have consistently blamed unemployment on immigrants. o • In the 1980s the National Front began to win some local elections and even parliamentary seats, especially in South and Southwest France. o • Those who administered Vichy France during the Second World War collaborated in sending French Jews to the concentration camps o • Kassovitz’ father (who himself fled Hungary in 1956) was the son of a concentration camp survivor. oThe Police and Racism • There are two main police groups in the film: the neighbourhood plain clothes police and the riot police o • Racism (as in the UK) has been seen to be a particular problem in the police force. o • There were over 300 deaths in police custody or from police action from 1980 to 1995 when the film was made Social and Historical Context
Below is an article taken from the Guardian newspaper illustrating that this problem is stillrelevant ten years on.Highlight and annotate it showing its relevance to the filmRiots continue in Paris suburbsStaff and agenciesWednesday November 2, 2005French police clash with youths as vehicles are torched in riots at Aulnay-sous-Bois, near Paris. Photograph: Travers/Le Floch/EPAViolent clashes between police and immigrant groups in the suburbs around Paris have continued forthe sixth consecutive night with scores of cars set alight and nearly three dozen people arrestedovernight, officials said today.Police in riot gear fired rubber bullets at advancing gangs of youths in Aulnay-sous-Bois - one of theworst-hit suburbs - where 15 cars were burned. Youths lobbed molotov cocktails at an annex to thetown hall and threw stones at the fire station, despite appeals for calm yesterday from the Frenchprime minister, Dominique de Villlepin.Four people were arrested for throwing stones at police in nearby Bondy where 14 cars were burned,the prefecture said. A fire engulfed a carpet store, but it was not immediately clear whether the blazewas linked to the suburban unrest.Officials gave an initial count of 69 vehicles destroyed in nine suburbs across the Seine-Saint-Denisregion to the north and north-east of Paris. The area, which is home mainly to families of immigrantorigin, most from Muslim north Africa, is marked by soaring unemployment and social unrest.The interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, told Europe-1 radio that police detained 34 people overnight.Mr Sarkozy - blamed by many for fanning the violence with uncompromising language and harshtactics - defended his approach and vowed to restore peace.
The rioting began on Thursday after two teenagers, aged 15 and 17, were fatally electrocuted and athird injured in a power substation. There have been claims, denied by officials, that they where werehiding to escape from police.Mr Sarkozy caused uproar by calling the rioters "scum" and continued to defend his stance in aninterview in todays Le Parisien newspaper in which he said the current policy dealing with poorimmigrant communities had failed."The reigning order is too often the order of gangs, drugs, traffickers. The neighbourhoods are waitingfor firmness but also justice.... and jobs," he told the paper.An Associated Press news team witnessed confrontations between about 20 police and 40 youths inAulnay-sous-Bois with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Officials said that "small, very mobilegangs" were harassing police as well as setting fire to rubbish bins and vehicles throughout theregion.France-Info radio said some 150 fires were reported in rubbish containers, cars and buildings acrossSeine-Saint-Denis.Yesterday, Mr de Villepin met the parents of the three teenagers, promising a full investigation of thedeaths and insisting on "the need to restore calm", the prime ministers office said.Despite that, tension continued to mount after young men torched cars, garbage bins and even aprimary school the night before. Scores of cars were reported burned on Monday night in Clichy-sous-Bois, and 13 people were detained.Youths set two rooms of a primary school in Sevran on fire on Monday along with several cars, themayor, Stephane Gatignon, said in a statement.Mr Sarkozys handling of the situation has been criticised within the conservative government. Theequal opportunities minister, Azouz Begag, said he "contests this method of becoming submerged byimprecise, warlike semantics".For three decades, successive governments have injected funds and launched projects but failed toimprove the lives of many marginalised communities in suburban areas.Special reportFranceWorld news guideFrance Make notes on the documentary of La Haine (2)
Close Study AnalysisFalling metaphor (00:50)Can you explain this metaphor of falling and its relevance to the historical context?The opening credits and the footage of real life rioting are accompanied by Bob Marleyand the Wailers’ song Burnin and Lootin.What is the significance of the song and the connection to the historical context?
Said’s and Vinz’s introduction (5:12)Comment on camera movement and mise en scene in the first scene of the film.Describe Vinz’s room.What American references are there in these scenes?What do we learn about the two characters and their background in these scenes?What does Vinz’s relationship and conversation with his family tell us?
Hubert’s introduction (10:35)What do we find out about Hubert?Hubert at home (33:57) Cut out Vinz and Said in the ShopsComment on:His room
His relationship to his familyHis actionsDescribe what Hubert sees as he looks out of the windowWhat is the relevance of the DJ and where else can we see this relevance in the film?Park Scenes (18:55) Shop Scene (23:00)Describe the Mise en scene.]
Comment on micro and macro elements in the scene, their relevance and connotations.Toilet (48:25)What is the relevance of the mirrors shot at the start of this scene?What is the argument between Vinz and Hubert about?What point do you think the man in the toilet is trying to make?
Interrogation (103:25)What is the relevance of Vinz in the cinema before this and the connection to this scene?Comment on the micro and macro elements of this scene.On the roof (121:24)What is the point of the clock all the way through?
Who does Said see and what does he say?What does the shot of the tower show?What is the meaning of Vinz’ statement, “I feel like an ant in intergalactic space”?The End (130:30)Comment on micro and macro elements of the end of the film:
Questions that La Haine Poses/AnswersHow do you think that the film attempts an answer to these questions through thenarrative? • Does the government do enough for people in the working class and estate environment? o • What is there for people to do on the estate? o • What are the causes of crime?
o• How does society feel about minority groups? o• What is the result of police brutality? o• What impact can political figures have on society? o
Reviews of La HaineUsing reviews answer the following questions (do this by highlighting and annotating the reviews): • What were the different scenes identified in the comments? What was it about these scenes that the viewer particularly enjoyed or disliked? • What did the comments say about the story of the film? Was the subject matter something that the viewer could relate to? • What was said about the stylistic elements of the film? • Was the director mentioned, and if so, what was said about the directors style of film making and their other films • Do the viewer comments tell you anything about the target audience for the film? • What did you find out about the historical context (how the film relates to the time in Paris when it was shot) of the film?
1User Comments: 12 out of 15 people found the following comment useful:-Great achievement. One of the most unforgettable Euro movies of the 90s., 17 May 2002Author: Bogey Man from FinlandLa Haine aka Hate is a story about three friends living near Paris in France (one Jew, oneArab and one black) who have nothing special in their lives and try to live a day at a time bydrinking and having a good time and also working (at least the black character, who owns aboxing hall). Their friend, however, is captured by a police which tortures and maltreats himso badly that he is sent to a hospital in a critical condition. This makes the youth gangs in cityincluding the three protagonists start a war against the police and authorities for the horriblewrongs they and their friend have suffered, and suddenly they notice the whole society iscollapsing, and all there is is hate and need to revenge...Violence and mayhem is almosteverywhere, including authorities which should do nothing but fight against it..This film is powerful and grim. Totally unforgettable is the last scene which at my firstviewing time blew me away. It comes very suddenly and there are no warnings what willhappen at the end of this film. The message is so important and these marks of the"apocalypse" can be found in our everyday life everywhere. The society is falling and it is"spinning" as the voice over says just before the end credits..The film brings into questionsuch horrific facts as racism which should have passed away long times ago, but no. Racismis such a primitive, stupid and despisable cancer among people, that there is no hope of betterfuture if individuals dont understand the real facts of life and right ways to live with eachother. Hate feeds hate as the character Hubert says, and that is something that our stupid racehas not learned.There is one very powerful scene just before the end scene and it deals with a skinhead andthese three characters who could kill him right away and pay something back. It is verychallenging scene and even Vinz, the most revenge seeking character, starts to see thingsdifferent way after that. The whole point of La Haine is violence in all its forms. Why there isviolence and why the hell it is used so often everywhere in every form? Dont we ever learn?These kind of films are important and so powerful that unfortunately people who should seethem dont want to or they cant bacause it would be as a mirror for them..The film is also a comment on power used by police as they are pretty tough and hard in thisfilm. Police think that they can use any methods in order to get some answers, or in order tohave some fun..It certainly doesnt judge police as "pigs" or violent sadists in general, but it isa warning example of what must NOT happen anywhere ever, by police or by others. One hasto see through the film and to its core in order to understand what it says. Otherwise there isno point in watching these kind of films. La Haine is that kind of a film that it should be seenby police and youths as well, because there are still possibilities to prevent things to go toofar in our life and world we live in.The camera techniques used in this film are magnificent. Director/screenwriter MathieuKassovitz uses camera so smoothly and passionately and there are many similarities intechniques between this film and his more recent, Assassin(s). I am very happy for this young
talent to have won the directors award at Cannes. These kind of talents deserve their prizesbecause there are so many stupid and worthless films which dont have nothing artistic inthem and have nothing to say, and are just mindless and greedy entertainment. The black andwhite is very great element and the film strikes greatly without colors. The same case is withthe Belgian classic Man Bites Dog, by Remy Belvaux, Benoit Poelvoorde and Andre Bonzel.A great masterpiece in French modern cinema and recommended for the fans of intelligentand important cinema so seldom found from big studios or Hollywood (there are exceptions,of course) nowadays.10/102La Haine(Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995)La haine (Hate), which brought Mathieu Kassovitz, in his twenties, the directorial prize atCannes, centers on three friends living in a Parisian housing project. A Jew, an Arab and ablack African, the youths represent groups that a culturally self-involved society prefers tokeep at its outermost fringe. They are “kept” there in rather attractive style, though; Americansmay have trouble identifying these boys, by American standards, as deprived, given theimpressive livability of their subsidized housing. Nevertheless, the boys themselves feelalienated.Their alienation consolidates their sense of kinship. Strengthening both are their constantconfrontations with a common antagonist: the police, whose harassing forays into the projectssuggest an invading army, a swarm of bloodthirsty mosquitoes. (Again, the French police areMilquetoast compared to their American counterparts.) Now the police are holding andinterrogating a buddy of theirs. When this comrade dies in police custody, one of the boys, inchance possession of a dropped police pistol, explodes; but, in the intriguing way Kassovitzportrays this train of events, the precise causality remains murky, the detained boy`s death anearly subliminal trigger, just one more contributor to an incendiary atmosphere. But it`s thestraw that breaks the Jewish boy`s back.Let`s get out of the way an inference preposterously drawn: that this boy is Kassovitz himself,who is also Jewish. Mathieu is, in fact, the son of Peter Kassovitz, the photographer andfilmmaker. His has been no disadvantaged life. Still, Mathieu can certainly relate, making hisJewish character a surrogate along the lines of “under other circumstances, this could havebeen me.” After all, Mathieu`s father is a Hungarian immigrant, and French anti-Semitism runsdeep. But, in literature and film, biographical or autobiographical equations generally fail tohold true; with absolute justice, Tennyson insisted that the speaker of In Memoriam wasn`tentirely himself, and Orson Welles maintained that Citizen Kane wasn`t William Randolph
Hearst. Not that Hearst could grasp the accuracy of Welles`s declaration. Or wanted to.Moreover, such speculation distracts from Kassovitz`s finely suggestive analysis of how asocial situation of violence evolves. Indeed, his exposition in this regard greatly improves onits botched antecedent in Spike Lee`s desultory Do the Right Thing (1989), one of a number offilms Kassovitz draws upon. If nothing else, La haine functions as a corrective to the Americanfilm, suggesting what Lee`s gaudy extravaganza might have achieved had Lee been lessinterested in parading pretty pictures and venting his chic bile, and more interested in actuallydetailing an instance of ghetto violence. Lee, if he has the capacity to do so, could learn a lotfrom the French kid. Other filmmakers could, also.But not, were he alive, Akira Kurosawa, whose Stray Dog (1949) is another of the filmsinfluencing Kassovitz`s. It is from the violent plot of this brash, moody police thriller thatKassovitz has drawn the stray police pistol; but the allusion is wholly unwarranted. For Lahaine leaves alone the kind of postwar social analysis that commands Kurosawa`s interest.Kassovitz isn`t after a complex understanding of the pop-off situation—the point of violence—that he, unlike Lee, so closely and admirably describes. Rather, he pleads a case and a cause.Shot plainly, in black-and-white, the result is agreeably minor. La haine is a simple, highlywatchable documelodrama that builds casually to an explosive finale. It`s also a testy film,tinged with arrogance; a part of its youthful charm is how deftly it draws one into the circle ofits bias. Our heads may carp that the sort of kids whom the film follows would, in reality, havesomething to do with the rotten course of their lives; but the fiction of their total victimizationthe film, by its lightness and lack of self-pity, makes exceedingly easy to give in to. La hainereminds me of an East Side Kids bottom-of-the-bill feature from the 1940s—in a moresophisticated incarnation, of course.Kassovitz`s sincerity and sympathy, however, do not cover everything. Given the film`sessential naturalism, the minigang`s multiethnic composition is a tad convenient. Moreover,crass stereotyping compounds the convenience; we are given a Jew who is private andmoodily intense, a sociable and foolishly fun-loving Arab, and a gooily mama-lovin’ blackAfrican. Of greater consequence than this cornball distribution of familiar traits, though, is theinsufficient attention the film pays to the dynamic of the boys’ increasingly incorrigiblebehavior—on the mistaken assumption, perhaps, that a full and open airing of these bratswould take an unjust society off the hook. On the contrary, the film`s single-mindedness—itsrefusal to allow these children even the slightest complicity in their own behavior and theirdownfall—calls greater attention to its reductionism and leads directly, in fact, to the film`smost grievous mistake: after nicely entertaining us, at the last La haine “goes didactic,” with anabsolutist coda referring to a civilization going down for the count. Ho-hum, the sky is falling.Oy.This conclusion is just slapped on—much as, much earlier, the junior-grade moral crisis, wherethe boys ponder whether to exchange their “play-tough” mischief for decisive violence, issimply slapped in.Kassovitz has a lot to teach Spike Lee. Also, he has a lot to learn himself.Dennis Grunes3
Reviewed by Stella Papamichael Contains strong language, violence and drug useUpdated 04 August 2004Its been labelled French cinemas answer to Boyz N The Hood, but La Haine (Hate) has aflavour all of its own. Writer-director Mathieu Kassovitz butts European urbanity up againstAmerican street style as kids clash with cops in suburban Paris. The result is an explosion ofscathing social commentary and dynamic storytelling. Delving into the generational, racial,and class divides of his native France, Kassovitz offers a fearless - if unreservedly pessimistic- attack on the frontlines of power.During a riot in the outskirts of Paris, police beat an Arab teenager (Abdel Ahmed Ghili) into a coma,fuelling a fire of hatred inside Vinz (Vincent Cassel) - a Jew who swears to "whack" a cop if the boydies. Its left to Vinzs cohorts, the jocular Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui) - also Arab - and subdued Africanboxer Hubert (Hubert Koundé) to talk him out of his bloody plan as they embark on a loafing odysseyfrom the immigrant neighbourhoods to the big city. Still, the time bomb keeps ticking."A FATALISTIC ACCOUNT OF SOCIETYS DECLINE"Counting down 24 hours, Kassovitz never gives the illusion of a happy ending. This is a fatalisticaccount of societys decline and its plainly one-sided - the only cop who shows sympathy for the"troubled youth" is ineffective among an army of bigots and bullies. Evidently Kassovitz sees things inblack and white, which might explain his choice of a striking monochrome print.But its the conviction and bold invention with which Kassovitz tells the tale that makes it utterlycompelling. Despite a meditative pace, there are shades of Scorsese in his kinetic camera moves,and in a scene lifted straight from Taxi Driver where Vinz poses in the mirror with a gun, snarling,"You talkin to me?"Playing Vinz, Cassel radiates with a blistering intensity throughout, while Koundé offsets him with acool self-assurance. Taghmaoui also turns in an outstanding performance, offering comic relief tobalance the otherwise unbearable tension. Superbly acted and brilliantly executed, La Haine will tearthrough you like a bullet.In French with English subtitles.
4Twisted suburbiaReview from Frostieuk about Haine, La, 20.10.04Authors productratingAdvantages pace, style, originalityDisadvantages keeping up with sub-titlesSummary:Full review Director: Mathieu KassovitzStarring: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui,Abdel Ahmed Ghili, SoloRunning time: 97 minutesSummed up in a sentence:Tension builds to a devastating climax in the Parisian suburbs.The bigger picture:Kassovitzs highly acclaimed film was re-released in the cinemato coincide with its final release on DVD. Both events shouldhelp this classic movie gain a whole new audience, as well asre-igniting the passions of the original one.Based on the experiences of three young men, La Haine dispels
the myth of a glitzy, idealised Paris, showing instead the rawgrittiness of its dangerous suburbs, where violence anddisorder are the mainstay for the youth living there. While thetourists queue to climb the Eiffel Tower and Paris charms itsresidents and visitors alike with its beauty and vitality, thesuburbs soak up the citys problems like a veritable sponge.Tucked out of sight, the marginalised and impoverished lead acompletely different life - one that hasnt been given a voicebefore now.The film was shot in black and white which gives it a definiteraw edge and makes the streets look grimmer and thecharacters more edgy. Vinz, Said and Hubert form theethnically diverse but equally disenfranchised core of centralcharacters and we follow them as their difficult daily lives areplayed out to the backdrop of rising tension in theneighbourhood.The acting is superb and the direction powerful, leaving youtotally immersed in the lives and circumstances of the leads.5"Hate breeds hate"Review from mmintfresh about Haine, La, 12.06.03Authors productrating
Advantages Thoguht Provoking story, Excellent Direction,PerformancesDisadvantages Not many people have seen itSummary:Full review Kassovitz’s La Haine follows roughly a day in the lives ofthree young men Vinz (Vincent Cassell), Said (Saïd Taghmaoui)and Hubert (Hubert Koundé). They all live in a depressinghousing estate consisting of sterile tower blocks just outside ofParis. Tensions run high because the estate is basically adumping ground for people on the bottom rung of the socialladder. The estates contain a wide range of ethnicities, Vinz isJewish, Said is Arab and Hubert has African roots and theyreflect the population of their home. The tension in theseestates are not created, however because of the wide range ofcultures present it is with the police and the upper class Frenchsociety that dominate almost every other French film.The film opens with a collage of films made up of riots fromabout the 70’s to the riot that happens at the beginning of thefilm. We don’t see, however your typical riot with innocentpolice officers confronted with a crowd of yobs aching for afight, the roles are reversed. The very first line in the film is“It‘s easy for you to shoot us, we‘ve only got rocks” and thissets the tome for the film. The police don’t respect the peoplein the estate. The story itself starts with the story of a youngAsian man (Abdel) who was beaten whilst in police custody andin a critical condition. He was a friend of Vinz, Hubert and Said.Vinz wants revenge for this and tells Hubert and Said thatAbdel dies he will kill a cop with a cop’s gun he found in a riot.Hubert and Said become worried for their friend Vinz whoseems to be becoming increasingly more violent and unhinged
(he brags about beating a police officer in a riot) and the factthat he has a gun makes him like a ticking time bomb.La Haine is a film that I heard bits about but didn’t really feelcompelled to watch. One day I managed to see it and wasimpressed by the film but forgot about it. I then got a chanceto see it at the cine ma and after this second viewing realisedthat La Haine is much more than the American Hood films thatit is often, unfairly compared to, but a thought-provoking,insightful and intelligent film.The direction of the film is very interesting, long takes,interesting shots and some brilliant editing and makes the filmextremely stylish. In some films, this can be a drawbackbecause this can either overshadow a story or be put it to makea b-grade film seem better. La Haine, fortunately doesn’t fall into this category. Kassovitz’s (probably more well known for hisrole as the lead in Amelie) compliments the story with hisinteresting decisions. One very interesting technique, whichadds a lot to the tension of the film, is his decision to insert titlecards, which indicate the time of day paired with the sound of aticking clock. This creates the illusion that the film is a timebomb and leaves the audience unsettled and on the edge oftheir seat as it builds to it’s brilliant climax that will leaveanyone who watches it gob smacked (I will not give it away).His direction also helps the audience to get a good sense of thedismal environment that the three protagonists inhabit. He alsomanages to inject some comedy and lighter moments into thefilm for example when Vinz gives Said and haircut andcompletely messes it upThe plot itself doesn’t have a great deal of things happen in itof any real significance but that is the whole point. Kassovitzhasn’t chosen to make an escapist film but one based on reality(the ending was inspired by a real event and the film shot inone of the real estates) and that reality shows how boring andhopeless a situation the people who are living there are in. Thethree characters themselves are all likable and draw a lot of
sympathy from the viewers however they are all flawed andthis makes them a lot more real. With the other charactersKassovitz also avoids stereotypes.The acting in t he film is also top standard and adds to the semidocumentary feel of the film. Cassel, the most successful of thethree most recently seen in Noe’s brilliant Irreversible makesVinz both likable and dangerous but doesn’t go over the top.Taghmaoui puts a bit of comedy into the film as Said but alsocan be serious and quite tragic. Koundé is Hubert the mostmature of the three and makes him a likable character as wellforced into a life he desperately wants to escape.La Haine is a film I would highly recommend because it is agreat and engaging film with a serious message about the stateof France today. The only downside to the film is that not manypeople will watch it because it is French, also the subtitles (inthe Tartan release) have been Americanised so the character ofAsterix has been changed to Snoopy and things like that. LaHaine is also dismissed as a Boyz in the Hood type film which isalso an unfair comparison. All I can say is see it now.6The world is yours...Review from markisverycool about Haine, La, 07.06.03Authors productrating
Advantages realsim, shot wonderfully, will teach you abovesocietyDisadvantages under rated, under classed, under seenSummary:Full review ...This is what the billboard poster reads as Vinz, Siad andHubert walk past it yet, one simple spray of a "v" to an "n" andthe wolrd becomes thiers. The simple reason for this is that thefilm "La Haine" draws you into to world of the projects in Parisrather than let you glide elegantly between the Champs Eleisseand the Eiffel Tower like so many early Hollywood and Frenchfilms tried to do.The genious diretor Mr Kassovitz takes us on a documentarystyle trip into the lives of 3 of the most obscure and yet joinedfrineds in the projects. Vinz is a jew, Said is an arab nHubertsblack.yet each repressents morethan any othercharacter in the history of French film,what France todayembodies. Not jews or arabs but people displaced andmistreated throughout.The film itself follows one very eventful day in the lives of thesefriends and tracks thier progress from A to B. Yet thepointthatthe films makes and that Kassovitz drives home to us is that Ais B and B is A. There is no escape from the projects and fromthe lifestyle they lead. Even when the 3 manages to findthemselves stranded ina part of paris which they never go to, apart which is richer and has more prospects... they still havethose instincts from which they canot escape... they trash theart gallery. Even hubert, the sensible 1 of the 3 cannot containhis upbringings and steals a credit card.This point of entrappment is rammed home by the small yetpoinant role of the french/eastern european gentleman in the
toilets. He himself tells a story over 50 years old which too tellsof no escape, no matter how hard you try.The reviews for this film call it "an urban nightmare shot like adream" yet i see it as a slap in the face for French andinternational viewers alike. Ask yourselves this... why elsewould the president of France call together his cabinate...just towatch this film...As must see for all those who believ e the world they live in isactually the world they live in.So far, So good...So far, So good...Review from She-nobi about Haine, La, 14.01.03Authors productratingAdvantages original, innovative, intelligentDisadvantages underexposed, underappreciatedSummary:Full review La Haine opens with a shot of a Molotov cocktail falling inslow motion towards the earth and a voice-over is heardrelating a joke about a man falling from a skyscraper repeatingto himself “So far, so good…So far, so good”. This joke is retoldat the end of the film, employing the dramatic technique ofcircular cohesion that is often effective with revolutionarysatires, but with the term “society” replacing “man”. This tellsus the question the film is posing is ‘When will society fall?’The main body of the film follows three young men living in a
deprived area of Paris, a setting that provides journalisticjuxtapositions, such as the three sitting on a rooftop at nightstaring at the Eiffel Tower in the distance, a symbol of theromanticism and grandeur of the city unobtainable to thecharacters Said, Hubert and Vinz (played by Vincent Cassel,recently seen in the disappointing Brotherhood of the Wolf).The film takes on a ‘day in the life’ feel as everything andnothing happens as the men go about their random existence.The mood is one of profound lack of purpose and the frequentframes of black with the time displayed in digital format add tothe sense of a countdown to a revolution. It is also bleakfollowing the violent scenes of riots that form the openingcredits, in which one of their number, Abdul, has been injuredand is critically ill in hospital. It is this need for retribution andhis possession of a policeman’s gun obtained in the riot thatfuel Vinz’s increasingly violent nature. He swears to murder a“pig” if Abdul dies and his internal moral struggle is a mainthread of the film. It never becomes clear that Vinz ever spoketo Abdul, let alone was his friend, but I sense that the injuredman is a beacon for the frustration and injustice he feelstowards the authority that has failed him. There are scenes thatconvey Vinz’s unbalance d state of mind, such as talking tohimself in a mirror a’la Taxi Driver and the fact he sees a cowin the street which no-one else seems to notice.Vinz’s internal struggle is depicted externally by the roles of theother characters, Said and Hubert, as they make up the threecomponents of a personality. Applying psychoanalysis, eachcharacter represents the Id, the immature violent reactions of achild (Vinz), the Superego, the rational side that employsreason (Hubert), and the Ego, the halfway point that consultsthe extremes and decides what to do (Said). A scene outside apolice station in which Hubert and Vinz are arguing and Said iscaught in the middle trying to pacify them both illustrates this.
As the film progresses this mental balance shifts as thecharacters undergo a series of changes, and (without wantingto give away the ending) we realise the answer to the questionis society collapses when reason is lost and violent tendenciestake over.The majority of the movie is shot on monochrome film (that’sblack and white to non-English students), which serves tocreate a documentary feel and reinforces the bleakness of citylife, however the drama of La Haine is anything but bleak.Scenes such as Hubert and Said on the receiving end of policebrutality and a violent attack on a nightclub bouncer involving aflare gun are almost painful to watch, and yet carry a subtletyand taste as we experience the shock through the maincharacters’ eyes. The tone of the film is such that we maintainan objective view of the events whilst still respondingemotionally to what we see. As an audience we are constantlycalled on to make judgements on the action, making this afascinating and involving cinematic experience.As a good film should, La Haine displays original flare andinnovation in its camerawork. Shots such as a close-up of abathroom mirror that uses angles to include all three characterseven though they are in completely different parts of the room,and an aerial shot of a housing estate that seems only possiblewith the use of a mini-helicopter are testament to the effortmade by director Kassovitz to push the medium forward. LaHaine comes as a breath of fresh air not just in cinema as awhole but as a change from the majority of French cinema,which often focuses on Paris as a romantic and glamoroussetting, and seems pre-occupied with the sex comedy (yawn).Many French filmmakers seem to shy from the subject of race,and the difficulties of the black, Jewish and Asian cast areprevalent in the story. La Haine really is a great film and youmay not realise that the first time you see it, I didn’t, but your
appreciation grows with repeated viewings, so a salute toKassovitz for producing a paced, political, satirical drama withmoments of humour and artistic flare that keeps me noticingnew things every time I see it. Today’s cinema is in dire needof more films like this.
PowerFrom what you have learned during the course of studying this film, try to write as much aspossible about the following points: • What is Power in this film? • Who has the Power? • What happens when you have no Power? • Can you gain Power if you have none?