Modern Cinema From Around the World: A Review of Mathieu Kassovitz’s “La Haine”

La Haine follows three friends, Vinz, Hubert, and Saïd through their wanderings in and around Paris. The film begins in the aftermath of a riot, where police arrest and injure their friend, Abdel Ichacha. News stations begin to plaster Ichacha’s image all over the headline news, highlighting his importance immediately. Vinz (Vincent Cassel) is a Jewish man who is more aggressive than his friends and who openly, and actively, participates in the riots. Vinz is a character who has a vendetta against police and promises to murder a police officer if Abdel Ichacha dies. He is the wild-card of his friends and preoccupies himself with street culture. He says he was raised on the street, even quoting the famous, “You talking to me,” scene of Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver in a mirror with an imaginary pistol. Hubert (Hubert Koundé) is probably the most “on the level” of the three, he is an Afro-French man who gets his gym burned down during the riots. Hubert’s goal is to leave the projects to live a better life, away from violence. Hubert is more level-headed towards his family than the others; Hubert gives his family money for utilities. Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui) is a North African Muslim who portrays himself as the ringleader. He is a big-talker, who is not afraid to voice an opinion between the other two friends.These characters live in the banlieues, or the projects outside Paris, where there is a large police presence after a riot turned violent.

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