Wednesday, November 28, 2007


La Haine; Drama, France, 1995; D: Mathieu Kassovitz, S: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui, Abdel Ahmed Ghili, Solo, Joseph Momo, Héloïse Rauth

A police officer unjustifiably beat up teenager Abdel who fell into a coma. That night unrest and violence disrupts between police and youngsters in Paris. Three violent teenagers, Vincent, Hubert and Said, talk about Abdel while conducting a grill fest on the top of their building. Vincent finds a gun and decides to kill a cop if Abdel dies. The trio goes to visit their friend Asterix but it ends in an argument. Police officers arrest and beat up Hubert and Said. The youngsters later on go to an art exhibit and try to steal a car, even scaring a bunch of Skinheads with the gun. A cop kills Vincent, while he and Hubert kill each other.

"Hatred" contains two excellent scenes: in the first, Earth can be seen from outer Space while the narrator says: "While a man was falling from the storey, he talked to himself to calm down; 'So far, so good, so far, so good'..." In the other, while the three violent youngsters argue, a dwarf exits from the toilet and starts surrealy talking about how wonderful it is to defecate and how he couldn't do that while he was traveling in a train to Siberia. The rest of the story is also good, but, just like the photography, it has a black and white perspective. Director and writer Mathieu Kassovitz bravely portrays the rarely touched theme of teenage delinquency, clinically and objectively showing how some youngsters are simply aggressive, but doesn't tend to give an explanation for that nor to show an alternative, while at moments he even creates a senseless apotheosis out of them and the film seems overstretched. It's interesting that the story shows how the multi-cultural youngsters, symbolically presented in the three protagonists - the Jewish Vincent, Arab Said and Black Hubert - are all not satisfied with their life and have an unbalanced spiritual state, and thus their beaten friend serves just as a fire that ignites the unstable barrel of gunpowder, yet a deeper insight into causes and consequences of hate stayed out - for the story, humans are simply a 'cursed' species that destructs itself. The only flawless ingredient is the dark mood, but all in all "Rebel without a Cause" said everything there is to be said about this subject decades ago.


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