Film review on La Haine (Kassovitz, 1995)
The problem of les banlieues (the suburbs) became particularly prominent from the early 1980’s onwards. Violent confrontations between suburban youths and the police took place in a number of the suburbs surrounding France’s major cities like, for example, Sartrouville and La Corneuve near Paris and Valulx en Velin and Venissieux near Lyon. Mathieu Kassovitz’s bracing 1995 feature La Haine ‘hate’ documented the rupture between the authorities and mostly immigrant youth. The site in which it was filmed had an official population of 10,000 made up of 60 different nationalities or ethnicities. It was also shot on location in projects where rioting was occurring. The film got 8 awards for best director, editing, film, producer, young film, foreign language director and film! The film opens with an image of the world which gets a petrol bomb thrown at it. This could be seen to symbolise the disconnection and alienation from society right at the beginning. The black and white film of the youths rioting is played with the soundtrack called burning and lutin by Bob Marley which accompanies these images well as they use words like burning and music of the ghetto etc. Bob Marley was also very famous amongst the youths in the 80’s – 90’s and was seen as a hero. The news bulletin then introduces the film and uses a mix of handheld and archive footage to produce realism. One particular scene in the film that strongly highlights the disconnection from society is when Vince, Said and Hubert get stuck in Paris for the night after missing the train. They end up going to an Art gallery to pass the time and start talking to these girls but cause chaos when the girls aren’t interested. Instead of talking to them Said asks one out which shows how out of their depth they are. Another scene is when Hubert says to his mum at the table ‘I have to get out I have to get out of this place’ and then when he’s looking out the window at the kids...
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