La Haine (1995)

La Haine (1995)
  • Time: 98 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
  • Cast: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui


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.

One review

  • The movie follows three young men in the suburbs of Paris. Violent riots have plagued the neighbourhood for days after a police officer shot another young man with immigrant background. And thus the movie becomes a story about the struggle of those that are trapped in the suburbs, with very few prospects and no way out of their second class dwellings.

    The movie is shot in a very stark manner, both visually and thematically. It is made clear that although these immigrants and their descendants were at least somewhat forced into the suburbs and it has not been made easy for them to get out, the boys themselves are also to be blamed. They’re all grown men, albeit just barely, but none of them seem to have any plans, barely any education and only a bad attitude to sustain them from day to day. And this aimlessness is reflected in their rioting. They talk a lot about eye for an eye, but even they can admit – even if they will not say it aloud – that it won’t solve anything. They’re stuck. Not to say that the police are guiltless. Bad attitudes and learned habits plague both sides and set them against one another.

    The movie however doesn’t offer all that many answers. Its central question is in the form of “What?”, not “Why?” or “How do we solve this?”. And that is also important. We need to understand the problem before we can go about solving it. And that is why this film was so relevant back on its day, and why it is still relevant over twenty years later. Because we are still struggling with these questions, these problems.

    La Haine is an important film. It in a very real manner showcases exactly how we are failing as a society and what there is to fix. Very good watch for all looking for grit, asphalt and lonely streets.

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