La Haine Review “La Haine”, a 93 minute film regarding about three adolescents(Vincent Cassel, Hubert Kounde, and Said Taghmaoui) who struggle to cope in a poverty-stricken environment in which hatred and violence are part of everyday life. Even the title “La Haine” which is a French word, translated to ‘The Hatred’ suggests what the film is about. Based on a true event, “La Haine” is inspired by a real event where a young man was murdered while being questioned at a Parisian Police station.
In exploring racism in the Paris suburbs, this film has a direct contrast with more typical French films, such as Amelie(2001) which presents a far more romantic and idyllic vision of French life. The beginning of La ‘Haine’ shows the beating of a Parisian in comparison to the beginning of Malcolm X which in the beginning, shows the beating of Rodney King and these two have a direct comparison as they both represent inequality as those people being beaten up had done no crime or malignant deed to deserve the beatings. La Haine” has such a huge impact as the film remakes how the riots in the outskirts of Paris were created and how the three adolescents from different ethnic backgrounds, where Vinz is Jewish, Said is Arab and Hubert is African, cope with ongoing riots. The director(Mathieu Kassovitz) inspiration was the riots of LA and the riots in Paris and how the riots had similar effects. Post industrial revolution, the main situation in France at this time was that people were succumbed into creating riots due to a police beating a person off-duty which happened in Les Banlieues.
Les Banlieues also had a policy of ensuring that not one culture or ethnic group was over represented in Les Banlieues which intended to prevent a power struggle of independence. Les Banlieues are mainly in the outskirts of the city and are teeming with high drug use, social fragmentation, racial conflict, suburban decay, violence, crime, delinquency and even civil disorder in comparison to the “ghettos” in LA . In Les Banlieues, riots started to occur and multiple violent acts were committed against property and people These environments gradually became more public and developed strong opinions about life in Les Banlieues.
This environment reinforces the adolescent’s need to construct a masculine identity as Les Banlieues is a dangerous, threatening society to live in so this reinforces the need for a masculine identity because the adolescents feel that they have succeed in certain situations that requires physical strength and fitness and also tend to express themselves verbally and physically. This is shown after the beginning when Vinz has a banter with Said. Kassovitz develops the identities of Vinz, Said and Hubert in certain scenes.
In the scene where Vinz finds a policeman’s gun, his normal persona changes as Vinz vows to kill every policeman if the trio’s friend,Abdel, dies. This depicts his masculinity as Vinz is subtly pressured to act masculine due to Abdel being in hospital and if Vinz appears to look or become weak then it will appear to Said and Hubert that Vinz is more feminine if Vinz expresses his emotions. This will also, as a whole, ruin Vinz’s self-esteem. Another scene where there is another development of Vinz’s identity is the scene where the trio confronts an off-duty cop.
Vinz seemingly “plays” with the cop with the gun in his hand, suggesting that they should kill the cop. This shows another development in Vinz’s masculine identity as Vinz is was challenged by Hubert that he won’t kill a cop and this threatens his identity and therefore plans to prove to the trio. The effect of this is to show how men’s masculinity are constructed in harsh conditions and how this affects their personality to become more reckless. “La Haine”, as a story, is more symbolic than realistic.
Motifs are repeated throughout the film, such as in the beginning the phrase “What is important is not how you fall but how you land”.. In “La Haine” there are American influences such as near the beginning of the film, it shows footage of the beating of a Parisian person and the Parisian riots and how it affected people which was in juxtaposition to The Beating of Rodney King which lead to the riots in LA. Kassovitz does this to reinforce the message of social inequality and its effects.
Also how lower class people are disadvantaged more than upper class people due to economic issues. Phrases are shown throughout the film poster integrated into several shots such as ‘The world is yours’ which shows the hypocrisy of the phrase with in relation to scenes such as as in contrast to the footage of the beating of a Parisian. Also another link would be the ‘Taxi Driver’ impersonation where Vinz talks to himself in front of his bathroom mirror. The film also is in monochromatic black and white which implies how good and bad correspond together.
Violence is depicted in the film mainly near the end when an off-duty police ambushes Vinz and accidentally shoots him dead and then Hubert points a gun at the policeman, intent on killing the policeman. This is important as this shows the reality of life, how valuable life is and how easy it is to take away life. In a summary,“La Haine” is an outstanding film which portrays society in different locations and different perspectives of how people are recognised due to masculinity and social status and how people adapt to harsh surroundings.
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