La Haine Mathieu Kassovitz

La Haine Mathieu Kassovitz
Americans were still getting used to raw portrayals of troubled street life in film when La Haine was released in 1995, so trying to create a project akin to something Spike Lee or John Singleton would do, but in Paris, was not an easy task. La Haine is a film about three youths in France whose lives are basically on auto-pilot — the housing project the dwell in gives them very little inspiration or purpose in life — with nothing to do but stir up trouble while keeping each other company. Inspired by the real-life incident where a handcuffed young man was shot during a police interrogation, La Haine is a stunning look at how the French police and young adults fed up with the system interact, usually with a strong indication of hatred, but this is not necessarily an anti-police film. The police are poorly trained but still flex their authority, while the harassed are reaching boiling points, and when Vinz, Hubert and Saïd locate a discarded police gun after a riot there’s a small shift in power in their minds. La Haine is clearly influenced by Scorsese and early hip-hop films such as Boyz N the Hood and Menace II Society but stays true to the conditions of France’s less-romantic side and doesn’t over-dramatise an event like a shooting, as this film is just an example of a much larger problem. This two-disc set is loaded with an 80-minute documentary that follows La Haine from the murder that inspired it to the troubles of being a criticall- acclaimed film surrounded by controversy and ignorance at Cannes. There are only four deleted and extended scenes of little relevance but because La Haine was originally shot in colour and later converted to black and white in order to achieve a rich, monochrome look, these cutting room scenes are worth watching to see bits of the film’s original state. There are small segments with the cast and crew during their two-month training stay in the housing project with a 3rd Bass soundtrack. The important film and the equally long documentary are more than reason enough to pick up this Criterion package. (Paradox)