Reflection on La Haine (1995)

It has been much too long since my last post! I thought I would restart with a mini reflection on the brilliant film I watched last night…


La Haine (1995)

This french film follows a day in the lives of 3 friends – Vinz (Jewish), Said (Arab), and Hubert (Afro-French) – living in the impoverished housing estates of Paris outskirts- banlieues. Director Mathieu Kassovitz reveals the state of France at the time, with the riots and brutality that were taking place. Although his 3 main characters are fictitious, it was filmed during the time of the riots, in the suburbs of Chanteloup-les-Vignes, and inspired by various victims of police brutality at the time. It is a revealing and brutal account – unconstrained, truthful and utterly raw.

The cinematography is beautifully done (Pierre Aim) and directed. The use of black and white throughout is potent and apt. I found silence was used particularly stylistically, and allowed for meaningful pause, realisation and reflection. Kassovitz delves into the characters, to give us both a violent side, as well as, somewhat more often than not, a philosophical and emotional side – mainly from Hubert. Particularly the humorous toilet scene, where the boys are arguing the matter of killing a police officer as revenge if their friend dies in hospital; a small elderly man walks out of a cubicle after likely hearing all their talk, and tells a very random story, with no apparent punchline, to which both Vinz and Hubert listen intently and respectfully – as do we, following the main characters lead. There is also the art gallery scene which I love, as they wander aimlessly inside, for nothing else to do or nothing to lose; their response to the conceptual art around them is accurate and humorous: “It’s awful. Awful awful awful awful”… “Is that artist famous?”

Thought provoking and daring, this film made me reflect on stereotypes, discrimination, corruption, police brutality, and even more deeply, of what is hidden and untold.

La haine attire la haine” / “Hatred breeds hatred”



4 thoughts on “Reflection on La Haine (1995)

  1. I love that header image from La Haine. I’ve always considered Vinz to be Cassel’s best work but that’s probably because it was the first time that I’d ever seen him and the film and his character created a very strong impression on me. Fine review!


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