BBC - Mark Kermode's film blog

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

La Haine - une revue

(1995) Dir: Mathieu Kassovitz

Set in the Parisian suburbs, I found this to be a cleverly shot piece, led by the performances of the three leads. I felt 2 scenes stood out for me. On the estate a DJ plays music out the window and it is followed by a tracking shot leading to a birds eye view of the estate with cleverly internitted music accompanying it. Vincent Cassel's scene at the top of the escalator is also a very nice piece of filmmaking. This film accentuates my love for everyday French life and La Haine captures an urban culture and the camaraderie that is essential to survive in the estates surrounding Paris.

Set in the 24 hours following a suburban riot, three friends wander the city encountering skinheads and casual police violence. Vincent Cassel leads Mathieu Kassovitz's angry and brutal film about racism and social exclusion in modern Paris Released to both controversy and acclaim in 1995, La Haine ranks among the most incendiary European films of the decade. Furious, funny, intelligent and tense, its treatment of racial violence, disenfranchisement and suburban poverty introduced audiences to aspects of French life rarely seen on film - specifically police brutality and Le Pen's National Front.

In style and intent it occupies a position somewhere between Scorsese's Taxi Driver and Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing. However writer-director Kassovitz's great triumph is the way he allies outright polemic with intensely powerful drama. In fact, so effective is his handling of the issues that the French Cabinet were reported to have watched the film in the hope that it would aid their understanding of the country's ethnically diverse young poor.

Set in the 24 hours following a riot on a Parisian estate, the film follows three mates as they wander aimlessly through the city. Vinz (Cassel) is a Jewish Travis Bickle, boiling with anger. North African Said (Taghmaoui) is a personable loudmouth, keen to get himself laid. Black boxer Hubert (Kounde) is a more thoughtful presence and his frustration the most deeply buried. During the course of a day and night they ponder the death of an Arabic friend at the hands of the police, and stumble across a cop's lost pistol.


  1. this is in my top 10 of films of all time. notice how each of the main 3 characters is introduced you see their names are put in in really interesting ways (graffiti, ring and poster). gold star for watching!!

  2. I love this film. They made us watch it when I did foundation even though it had nothing at all to do with our course!