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7. La haine

la haine


Reasons to study the film

La haine recently turned 25 years old and is generally reckoned not to have aged too much in its presentation of the relationship between young people and the police although one would need to watch Les misérables by Ladj Ly to get a more up to date version of how violence has increased due to drug dealing.   One needs to be careful in how one relates the content of the film to immigration related topics as Kassovitz avoided including identity issues except "en passant".  The big divide in the film is between banlieue and the capital rather than schisms between ethnic groups which in any case are more and more difficult to define.

The interest of the film

The long opening sequence of rioting leaves no doubt as to the direction of travel in this film with the exploding globe announcing that something dramatic is due to happen.   The film tracks over the course of a day  the three friends, Hubert from an African background, Saïd from a north African background and Vinz from a Jewish background and demonstrates the violent, self-perpetuating effects of distrust between the authorities and the impoverished population of the suburban social housing projects.    Essentially seen through Vinz's eyes the film interweaves incidents of violence with calm periods of story telling, even humour as it inexorably counts down to the final minute of the film.   Vinz, thanks to the efforts of his friend Hubert is cured of his desire for revenge on the police;   the police on the other hand are generally but now always seen as the cause of the ambient distrust which reigns in the suburbs.    Students of the film should be wary of over generalising from the film however as the French banlieue is a much more civilised place than portrayed here.   There is a considerable amount of help available to teach this film and it is relatively easy to relate cinema techniques to the transmission of the key messages.

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la haine