La Haine


Year: 1995
Country: France
Running time: 98 mins
Screenplay: Mathieu Kassovitz
Producer: Christophe Rossignon
Photography: Pierre Aim
Editors: Mathieu Kassovitz, Scott Stevenson
Music: Bob Marley, Isaac Hayes, Beastie Boys, Gap Band, NWA

Vinz: Vincent Cassel
Hubert: Hubert Koundé
Saïd: Saïd Taghmaoui

In French with English subtitles

Festivals: Cannes (Best Director), Young European Film of the Year, 1995. French Academy Award 1996, Best Film

This incendiary ride, designed as "anti-cop" by its 27-year-old director and dubbed "la bombe Kassovitz" by the French press, went off in a big way: huge media frenzy, ten French Oscar nominations, massive box-office receipts. Three young men toughing it out on the mean streets outside Paris became the unlikely standard bearers of a new revolution in French cinema.

In the fractious aftermath of anti-police riots in a Parisian cité (one of France's countless housing projects), three friends are drawn inexorably back into confrontation with the cops. Kassovitz galvanises their aimlessness into the most aggressive, adrenalised French film in years. The English subtitles for the film's dense street slang exaggerate the debt to Scorsese and Spike Lee: the grit, humour and raw energy that ricochet around Kassovitz's concrete wasteland are the real thing.

...Hate demands your attention from the get-go, startling in-your-face news footage of riots in the Paris suburbs... a police revolver has found its way into the hands of a young Jewish skinhead, Vinz, who vows to even the score if his pal dies... Vinz hangs out with Hubert and Saïd. They razz each other about films, cartoons, nothing in particular, but always the gun is hovering over them like a death sentence, the black-and-white focal point for all the hatred they meet with, and all they can give back... this is virtuoso, on-the-edge stuff; as exciting as anything we've seen from the States in ages, and more thoroughly engaged with the reality it describes... A vivid, scalding piece of work. — Tom Charity, Time Out