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LA HAINE, 1995
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  MOVIE POSTERLA HAINE, 1995
Movie Reviews

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

Stars: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé and Saïd Taghmaoui

Review by Russell Hill

SYNOPSIS:

The lives of three friends in an immigrant community are told in great detail over the course of a day.

REVIEW:

I'll always be grateful to the University of Portsmouth because I watched many films which I wasn't aware of. My love of foreign cinema hadn't developed yet but, after watching movies such as Les Quatre Cent Coups, it began. I had always associated French cinema with accordions, garlic and striped jerseys and not a country which is struggling to cope with its national identity. La Haine is definitely not a cosy movie because it criticises France's attitude to multiculturalism, in particular its inability to help people integrate into society.

Three friends live in a housing project on the outskirts of Paris which has people from many cultures. A violent community, there is a lot of hostility in the air especially as the movie takes place after a riot. Vinz (Cassel) is filled with rage but his friend Hubert (Koundé) is the opposite because he wants to better his life and live elsewhere. The other friend of theirs is Said. Sympathetic to both Vinz and Hubert's concerns, he is on the fence because he doesn't know if he hates the housing project or wants to leave it. Under constant surveillance from the police, the three friends try their best to lead their lives but are stopped from doing so. Vinz desperately wants to kill a policeman but will he have the nerve to do it? Or will Hubert and Said escape their life of misery?

La Haine seems very realistic. Although it is a feature film, it seems that a documentary crew have pointed a camera at a gang of delinquents and hoped that action would unfold. The acting by the three friends is very realistic and at no point does it seem false. Since the release of La Haine, Cassel has had a very successful career in both France and Hollywood. A remarkable actor, La Haine was actually one of his first films and he shows true acting ability at this early stage of his career.

The direction throughout is remarkable. The production crew actually moved into this Paris suburb for a couple of months to work on the film and become familiar with their surroundings. It certainly worked because the atmosphere of this brutal environment is captured perfectly. Many of the actors which are in La Haine were actually amateurs. To get a decent performance from such professionals might be very difficult but, for Kassovitz, it was done with perfection and showed what a great director he is. Thankfully, he remains gainfully employed and rightfully so.

Modern-day France is not about Edith Piaf and the Eiffel Tower. It is, after all, the home of cinema and La Haine shows that there is more to this country than meets the eye, especially as it demonstrates that many young men feel disenfranchised with their country.

ACTORMathieu Kassovitz
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORVincent Cassel
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORHubert Koundé
Best of the ARTIST
ACTORSaïd Taghmaoui
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LA HAINE, 1995