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.Written by
The trip across Paris is strange : the three characters should arrive at the Saint-Lazare station(north-west of Paris), coming from ChanteloupLesVignes. Yet, when they arrive, they are in front of the Montparnasse station(south of Paris), on the Rennes street. Then, they go to Asterix place, on the boulevard Pierre Ier of Serbia, close to Iena Place (west of Paris), and when they try to catch the last train, this time they are at the Saint-Lazare station, the right one to go back. But then, when they are on the roof, they see the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero from the south-east, being probably close to Montparnasse station. Then, they come across a sculpture, L'Ecoute, in the Halles Garden(center of Paris), before going back. Hence, their trip goes : south, west, north-west, south and center of Paris. See more »
Bullshit! You pointed a gun at a cop! We coulda been killed!
[an old man flushes the toilet and walks out of the stall]
Nothing like a good shit! Do you believe in God? That's the wrong question. Does God believe in us? I once had a friend called Grunwalski. We were sent to Siberia together. When you go to a Siberian work camp, you travel in a cattle car. You roll across icy steppes for days, without seeing a soul. You huddle to keep warm. But it's hard to relieve yourself, to take a shit, you ...
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In some English language subtitled (mainly American) versions the reference to the character of Said's friend who lives in the "posh towers" is 'Snoopy'. However, the untranslated dialogue says 'Asterix' and the woman who Vinz speaks to on the intercom laughs and says 'No, but his friend Obelix is here', whereas the translated version says 'No, but his friend Charlie Brown is.'. The reason Asterix and Obelix were changed to Snoopy and Charlie Brown in the subtitled version was because a lot of people are more familiar with those characters and possibly wouldn't understand the joke relating to Asterix and Obelix, which are two best friends in various French cartoon books by Goscinny & Uderzo. See more »
Moviemakers when filming French based films have traditionally tended to sentimentalise the people' through the celebration of les petits gens, the little people of Pagnol and Clair as well as more recently the fantastical Parisian wonderland environments of Amelie and Moulin Rouge. With La Haine, young director Mathieu Kassovitz took the flipside of this and gave an illustration of the awfulness of life in the depressed blue-collar areas of Paris
La Haine (Hate') begins after a night of rioting on a dismal housing estate on the northern outskirts of Paris and focuses on 24 hours in the lives of three close friends aged around 20. They are Vince (Vincent Cassel), an explosive working-class Jew, Hubert (Hubert Kounde), a handsome, soft-spoken black, and Said (Said Taghmaoui), a mercurial streetwise Arab. With little hopes or prospect of regular employment due to where they come from, the trio drift aimlessly, engaging in petty theft, and seething with aggressive resentment against an uncaring world. L'Avenir c'est nous (We Are the Future) is the ironic slogan on the estate's playground, but this is a film about people who believe they have no future.
The quality of the performances from the 3 main actors, their conviction, the way they interact with one another and the vigour and fluency of Kassovitz's script and direction make this a very special movie indeed. Its full of action, detail, unexpected incidents and quirky humour. For instance, the boys have a bizarre encounter in a public lavatory in central Paris with a diminutive survivor of the Gulag that is as puzzling to them as it is to us. Does the story the Gulag survivor tells them have a deeper meaning than on the surface? Of course it does, and importantly this film makes you think as to what the metaphor means. Throughout violence is always on the point of erupting. There are constant confrontations with a brutal, racist police force, and Vince has a 44 Magnum revolver that a plainclothes cop lost during the riots, which we know will eventually be used on someone. However none of this ever descends into mere gratuitous violence like so many Hollywood films
La Haine presents a state of affairs of the alienation faced by many young people in the projects' in France, and all over the world. It doesn't offer any solutions, though the point is forcibly made that in France, as elsewhere, parts of the police force are part of the problem rather than the solution. Of course, much of what we are shown is familiar to us from British and American films .
The strength of the film is that it neither glamorises nor patronises its characters. They hate their life because it's boring, and they despise the society that's created it for them, together with parks, football fields and a few mod cons with which to comfort them. In particular, they hate the police, who hate them right back. The film's other major achievement is to show in a tangible and very expressive way how a cycle of distrust and anger is created on both sides of this awful divide, so that there is very little anyone can do about it. In other words violence and hate breeds more violence and hate.
A criticism that could be levelled is that in the US / UK versions the sub-titles don't help, pushing what is very authentic dialogue into something more like cliché, as well as pointless miss-translations that occur. However this is just a minor thing, and does not and should not reflect at all on the film itself.
This certainly is one of the greatest films of the 1990s. Its one of those rare films that you will think about for the days and weeks after not solely about the film itself, but on wider issues such as society, poverty and racism.
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