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Notes on la haine


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Notes on la haine

  1. 1. Notes on La HaineDirector: Kassovitz – his 2nd feature after Metisse. Several actors and crewoverlap the two films. He was 28 years old. He’d made several shortsbefore.After La Haine he directed Assassin(s), Crimson Rivers and Gothika and isin pre production for Babylon AD-filming starts in Prague this Novemberand Vincent Cassels is one of the stars.Kassovitz has also acted in several films including Amelie.He comes from a film family background – mixed race, Hungarian jewishfamily. His parents were concentration camp survivors and have left wingviews.Rossignon – young producer on his short “Cauchemar Blanc”Production company – Lazennec, founded by Rocca to fund new Frenchtalent in the 90’s.Cast: Couldn’t afford established actors, though they do bring in extrafunds.Vincent Cassel had a middle class film background. Said Taghmaoui andHubert Koundé have backgrounds similar to their parts in the film.There are some famous recorded cases in France of youths being shot inpolice custody – these are called bavures – blunders. 300 ‘bavures’ since1981. Malik Oussekine is one case.Casseur means hooliganThe budget for the film was $28m – a medium budget in 1996. One filmthat year was 10 times that figure but several were a lot less. Money camefrom TV Channels Le Studio Canal+ and La Sept and from investmentcompanies. Kassovitz had to waive his fee in the end to afford the film.The film was shot in colour and printed in B&W. A possible colour versionfor TV was considered. It was filmed between sept-nov 1994 at La Noës atChanteloup-Les-Vignes NW of Paris. 12 towns were contacted but onlythis one accepted. There was some local opposition.Action scenes were prepared on storyboards.There were roughly 4 takes per shot.The towns around a city are called Banlieue – a band of territory outside ofa city but still under its legal jurisdiction. The term has differentconnotations than our ‘suburb’ – more like council estates. Initially the weresemi-rural but they began to acquire a bad reputation in 60’s. Also knownas a Cité. La Noë was built in ’72 and is 30K from Paris to house workersfor Chrysler, but suffered under automation in ‘80-‘84. Turned into a socialdustbin for unskilled immigrant workers – higher than average number ofchildren.New genre? – there is genre called banlieue films but they cut across other
  2. 2. genres and many represent idyllic locations. Can be divided in aestheticand sociological films. Aesthetic films use the banlieue as a background forother analysis- such as Bliers for profound dysfunction in society.Sociological films are regarded as French Auteur cinema – derogatoryterm in France. The Banlieue is more central in these films. A sub genre ofthese in the ‘80s was Banlieue films that narrow down to the cites withbrutal architecture, multi ethnic and social problems – beur films.Beur – slang for French north African descent. Many of these films weremade by Banlieue people with recognisable, limited visual iconography.Often there is a contrast between elegant boulevards and parks andgraffiti, rundown staircases and empty car parks showing isolation, apathy,deprivation and fear. These films often contain a visit to Paris, acts ofexclusion and focus on groups of young men. Does La Haine bridgebetween sociological and aesthetic with its interest in deprivation but useof style. Banlieue’s are often represented on TV with many of the themesof La Haine. There is a hegemonic televisual discourse of conservativeideology of violent and dangerous immigrants. Youths in the Banlieues seemore of this view of their own Banlieues on TV than any other media andare influenced by the message. Does La Haine, therefore, just recycle adeeply ingrained dominant set of images, though through a sophisticatedand entertaining form.Sound:Verlan – form of French slang were words are reversed to form a newword like a secret language. Strong accent of the Banlieue in the film.Verlan was limited in the film to avoid alienating viewers and sub titling wasrejected. La Haine itself is Banlieue speak. Said speaks with a musicalquality similar to rap.Race RepresentationPolice racism – implicitly in opening montage and explicitly in the scenewith Said and Hubert. Poster of right wing internal minister made up as aBeur on Darty’s wall – mise-en-scene.There is much debate about the mix of white, black and coloured (Blanc,Black, Beur) as being an unlikely result of political correctness. There is,however, more of an ethnic mix in the cite than in ghetto’s of USA.Beurgeoisie – Zinedine Zidane. The Hip Hop culture- rap, tagging, breakdancing is also reasonably realistic for France. The film appeals more toblack gangsta films like Spike Lee’s rather than French films.Debates range on whether there is such a thing as the ‘Jeune CinémaFrançais’ and ‘New Realism’.Stylistic distanciationIs La Haine a political film? – mixes social concerns, genre cinema andauteur preoccupations.