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La Haine (1995)

Hate

Three Young Friends... One Last Chance.

Starring:

Abdel Ahmed Ghili

Choukri Gabteni

Héloïse Rauth

Hubert Koundé

Joseph Momo

Olga Abrego

Rywka Wajsbrot

Saïd Taghmaoui

Solo

Vincent Cassel

Directed by:

Mathieu Kassovitz

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 96 minutes

On DVD

Country: France

Hate is such a strong word but there’s a whole lot of hating going on in La Haine. Usually, black and white French films scream ‘Art House’ at the top of their strange little voices, but this gritty mainstream movie deals with social problems in modern France coming out as one of France’s best ever films.

La Haine follows three men – the Jewish Vinz (Cassel), the Arabian Saïd (Taghmaoui) and Hubert (Koundé), a black boxer – in the aftermath of riots in a Parisian ‘Ghetto’. During the scuffles between young disaffected rioters and the police, a policeman loses a handgun and Vinz’s friend Abdel (Ghili) is left in a coma after a beating he received in police custody. Vinz goes on a mission to try and find the gun as a way of gaining respect in his suburb and vows to kill a cop if Abdel dies.

The film centres on important themes such as race and class divisions, ghettoisation, youth disenchantment and police brutality which are maturely and, at times, aggressively approached and no easy answers or excuses are given. These themes aren’t the be all and end all of La Haine as, in this dark context, live three bad lads who live out their lives on the edge of the law and the actors and Kassovitz do well to make sure these are characters who’s fate you ultimately care about. The tense conclusion will stay with you long after you turn off the DVD.

This was the film that really kicked off Vincent Cassel’s career. He stalks around the screen brooding in the angry young men style of  Marlon Brando, James Dean or Robert De Niro during the early stage of their careers. Also, the name Saïd Taghmaoui may not ring a bell but he is now Hollywood’s Mr rent-an-Arab. Not sure whether that’s a good or a bad thing for the lad.

DVD Extras Not a bad package - it's got making of doc, "Social Dynamite" exploring the film's setting, "Ten Years of La haine" reuniting the cast, deleted and extended scenes, trailers and stills DVD Extras Rating: 9/10

Summary

A quality character driven exploration of class and race divisions in a Parisian ‘ghetto’ with three excellent lead performances and an interesting story. Undoubtedly, the best thing to come out of France since Emmanuelle.

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