Thursday, June 04, 2015

"La Haine": French thriller from 90s prescient of today's issues with police profiling, and terror; law enforcement should watch this

The 1995 French film “La Haine” (“The Hate”), by Mathieu Kasovitz, in black-and-white and brisk (97 minutes, compressing 19 hours in a format resembling the Fox series “24”), while somewhat forgotten, is oddly predictive of today’s problems with police (racial) profiling (Ferguson, Baltimore, Utah, Cleveland, NYC) and reactive violence in the U.S.  Law enforcement departments should probably view this film.  It also reflects on foreign (ISIS-inspired today) encouragement of targeting US law enforcement and military.  (No, the title was never used to name a Haydn symphony.)
Ironically, the most violent of the three young men in the Paris banileues, Vinz (Vincent Cassel) is Jewish.  But he seeks honor by violence, saying he will take out personal revenge against the cops, after another friend (Abdel Ahmed Ghili) lies in a coma from police action in a riot, if the friend dies.  Hubert (Hubert Kounde), although a boxer (as was Tamerlan Tsarnaev, ironically) is the quietest and best self-controlled of the three, and an Arab man (Said Taghmoui) is somewhere in the middle. 
The movie pauses sometimes for some great shots, as one of the high-rise apartments with “Je ne regretted rien” (later used by the film “Inception”) playing in the background – the song comes back in the closing credits, just as it did in the score by Hans Zimmer for the Christopher Nolan film (July 16, 2010). But the music for this film is by “Assassin”.
At the end, however, there is total tragedy, and ambiguity, as the copus shoot Vinz “accidentally”
The DVD (Criterion Collection) can be rented from Netflix, and the extras are on a separate DVD.  Jane Fonda introduces the film.  Other distributors include Canal+ and Focus Features (Universal). 
Wikipedia attribution link for BW photo of Paris street gas lamp by Charles Marville, link.  

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