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La Haine Case Study

vikiwalden | Friday September 07, 2012

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS A2, FM4, Section A: World Cinema, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, World Cinema, La Haine, Genres & Case Studies, Beur, Classic, Drama, New Realism, Social Realism


Urban Stories | Power, Poverty & Conflict | Case Study 2 | La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz , 1995)


La Haine (Hate 1995, France) focuses on a single day in the lives of three twenty-something friends from immigrant families, living in an impoverished and multi-ethnic French housing project. The housing project, or la banlieues (ZUP - zone à urbaniser en priorité), hosts a riot after a young man is shot by a policeman. The film follows the young trio in the immediate aftermath of the riot. Vinz, who is Jewish, is filled with rage. He sees himself as a gangster, ready to win respect by killing a cop, and practices the role of Travis Bickle from the film Taxi Driver in his bedroom mirror. His attitude towards police, for instance, is a simplified blanket condemnation, even toward individual policemen who make an effort to steer the trio clear of troublesome situations.

Hubert is an Afro-French boxer and small time drug dealer, whose gymnasium is burned in the riots. He is determined to keep his head down, clearly having been in trouble with the police in the past. The quietest, most thoughtful and wisest of the three, he sadly contemplates the ghetto and hate around him. He expresses the wish to simply leave this decadent world of violence and hate behind him, but does not know how since he lacks the means to do so.

Saïd is a Maghrebin (or Beur in French slang) who inhabits the middle ground between his two friends’ responses to their place in life. He is naive and the child of the trio, looking up to both Hubert and Vinz his allegiance switches between the two.

Their friend Abdel Ichaha, the man brutalized by police shortly before the riot, lies in a coma. Vinz finds a policeman’s .44 Magnum revolver in the post-riot debris and vows if Abdel dies he will use it to kill a cop. When he does hear of Abdel’s death, he fantasises carrying out his vengeance.

The three go through an aimless daily routine and struggle to entertain...

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