Movies 2007 #35 – La Haine (Hate)

La Haine Recently re-released as part of the Criterion Collection after being out of print in the US, La Haine is a landmark film that deserves to be seen by anyone serious about world cinema.

Telling the story of a single day in the lives of three youths, Vinz (Vincent Cassel), Hubert (Hubert Koundé) and Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui), in one of Paris’ suburban ghettos, La Haine is a film that exposes a side of Paris that the tourists never see. Faced with racism, police brutality and a neighborhood filled with tension because of ongoing clashes with the police, the three try to make their way through an increasingly bleak and violent world.

The film is shot in a gorgeous black and white, is well acted and has a honest, earnest vibe that sold me on it from the first. It reminds me of Menace to Society in that way. It’s a brutal, ugly world but it’s presented in a way that makes it watchable. It’s not fun, and there’s nothing glamorous about their lives. It’s simply well wrought cinema shining light on a dark corner of the French experience.

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