Kassovitz and Black Lives Matter
While La Haine is very relevant to its endemic study about hostility and society, the United States has re-initiated the Black Lives Matter movement after another killing of blacks by police officers. Branching off from the problem of racism, people have started calling for their demands to banish the police system. The police’s issue of violence is found in the United States and other countries. In 1995, Mathieu Kassovitz created La Haine to demonstrate racial discrimination by the French police, especially in the suburban area of Banlieue.
Apart from causing many controversies, massive demonstrations are also sweeping France, where the police are interrogating the death of a young black man. In the film La Haine, directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, convergence explores social unrest, controversially, with suburban violence, police abuses. Misconceptions about hatred, police brutality, and how one-sided problems can trigger an event where there is no expectation.
A fact exploded if La Haine won the prestigious award as best director in Cannes.
The Theme and Retrospective of La Haine
The film’s success is becoming popular and relevant, with its theme, about how the media works as a circus so that it turns La Haine into an endemic study about hostility and society, apart from going beyond the essence in authentic history, about a black and white story for twenty-four hours in life. The trio of mixed-race young men echoes and waits for their best friend’s case after what happened to the police.
Talking about the lives of the three young immigrant descendants in Banlieue for 24 hours, La Haine shows the discrimination they face. Vinz, a young man of Jewish descent, might not look too obsessed because he has white skin. However, he felt the close brotherhood and difficulties with his two friends. Hubert, a young black man, tries to live everyday life and raise money to leave Banlieue.
Said, a young man of Arab descent is the youngest of the three and still does not have a permanent stance. It can be said that Vinz and Hubert are antithetical to each other. Vinz has a tough character and always wants to fight the authorities, while Hubert always avoids problems. Said is between the two, sometimes following Vinz’s wrath and sometimes trying to win like Hubert.
The Central Subject Matter of La Haine
The central focus of La Haine revolves around how the three main characters live their lives in an urban environment. They hang out, smoke a joint, and do vandalism. The story focused on one plot device when one of the police lost their gun; Vinz found it and kept it by the police and carried it everywhere. Hubert, as a former soldier, has the will to end Vinz’s fate. Regardless, they would fight themselves in response to the authorities’ actions regarding their friend’s case.
Knowing it by his head, Vinz would use the gun to shoot the most hated police. He, and the people in the urban environment, hated the police. For Hubert, not all authority, or even race, are evil. Their daily lives worked as a documentary in a periodic structure of less than a day, with thick pop culture, style, slang, and street language.
The Minimalist Trigger
La Haine might not be a film, yet the plot point has it more on the expectation, like the timer that tries to explode anytime, anywhere, how to explode, and who is hurt. It is about how the man landed when he fell, explained Hubert himself, not about how he felt. With just a flick of a finger, it pulls a trigger where it becomes the most minimalistic yet simplistic story about the sound of the ticking clock every second.
The high and low sound, the fast-tracking shot of the Do the Right Thing style, and a film where every director was inspired. For most of it, how does La Haine’s story center on an endemic study of hostility and society even though it is? La Haine shows how the police’s racial bias can harm and curb immigrants’ offspring in France. People are just trying to have an everyday life. Not only through acts of violence, but police and government officials also limit their space.
It is essential to be witnessed to know the problem of violence by the apparatus in terms of systemic and universal occurrences. Naturally, it has light chatter between the characters, made to look realistic. Banlieu’s aura, the director and cinematographer, decided to use one of the Banlieue regions in France as a setting while simultaneously involving residents as extras.
The Role of Media
Apart from showing how widespread the media’s power is, La Haine shows a habit, from the press, of portraying youth as threatening figures on the other hand of an endemic study about hostility and society. It is failing to realize that stigmatization only contributes to negative feedback loops. The lack of legitimate representation from youth further hinders their access to opportunities.
In one scene, a news reporter tries to question Hubert, Vinz, and Said about the rioting the night before. By framing the screen, Kassovitz observed a TV screen wall as trapped in the media box ratio. News becomes the expert’s benchmark and measure in framing and confirming news broadcast announcements. Their friend’s death attempts to interrupt a montage of war and chaos images, daily exposure to brutal content normalizing and legitimizing violence in their eyes.
As a result, they act counterintuitively, using violence as a catalyst for social change. Ironically, it is an example of the power of the media because it triggers a riot. However, should that important point be hidden or made a particular agenda?
The Authentic Riots
With authentic archival recordings of urban riots, La Haine opens its narrative with a documentary film. It evokes a sense of realism and builds a background according to history, art, politics, and literature. Most modern biographical films employ a similar strategy. Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables uses the exact text about society and hatred from the apparatus’s side. The cut of the film becomes a molotov cocktail, rotating towards satellite imagery of planet Earth.
Accompanied by The Wailers song Burnin ‘and Lootin’, a mode with a fallen society tale, the screen lights up from an explosion before cutting back to archival footage. It helps set the tone and contextualize fictional stories with social realities. The lines between realism and narrative seem to be blurred but continuous.
La Haine needs careful attention, with a tennis tactic about hostility and society, so that people can be tricked into as if it were an illusory trick of endemic study. Apart from being a story about young people and their coming of age, it explores modern French identity. As Said, Vinz, and Hubert’s friendship is a melting pot of culture, a challenge to the purity of ancient France’s image.
The multiethnic dynamics reflect the reality of France at the time. Ironically, it exposes the false logic behind the relative French definition of social solidarity. Not racial differences, in culture openly referring to them as other people and encouraging treatment of ulcers. Banlieue is a political housing solution to offset the influx of immigrants. Each of them represents a location and culture.
Hubert has Caribbean roots, Said is of North African descent, and Vinz describes Eastern European Jews. Like double vision, the historical context of various ethnic identities blurs the boundaries between present, future, and past. Thereby, it is questioning whether to be treated like citizens or colonial subjects of victims and historical actors.
The Thematic Surrealism and Realism
La Haine’s contention combines opposing surrealism and realism styles to enhance the meaning and impact of the theme itself. The premise, which is not easy to pin down, contrasts thematic elements because it says more as a package than individually. Realism provides the background, while surrealism and dark comedy moments generate rhythmic and entertainment value from reality and the people around it work.
It is self-reflexive because of the blatant nature of using belief to reveal the truth about seeing reality using surrealism. At the end of the film, Kassovitz created an uncomfortable scenario for not giving viewers answers. At the same time, the clock’s ticking from the start finally exploded like a ticking time bomb. The explosion makes it seem as if the eruption has finally released a fantasy about Vinz and makes a responsible decision by handing the gun to Hubert.
A group of police seeking revenge stopped them, pinned Vinz to the car, and one of them aimed a gun at his head and accidentally pulled the trigger. The bomb exploded while Hubert and the policeman pointed their weapons at each other; Said as the middleman could not do anything, and the screen went black. The story of how someone fell without an answer.
Apart from continuing to stir up heated debates thanks to its close connection with traumatic social and political events in France, the theme of La Haine is a tale about everything; it is a story about officials, the media, youth behavior, circles of hatred, and misunderstanding. Apart from being about the idea that youths are caught in a cycle of contempt for the police, it expresses disgust without violence, vandalism, and anarchism.
It creates a blurry line between where the facts are and how to mature, apart from being explored by Mathieu Kassovitz as solutions and resolutions go back to the answer itself. An infinite circle is constantly stuck with people.
- Holmes, M. D., & Smith, B. W. (2008). Race and police brutality: Roots of an urban dilemma. SUNY Press.
- Lebron, C. J. (2017). The making of black lives matter: A brief history of an idea. Oxford University Press.
- Vincendeau, G. (2005). La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995). University of Illinois Press.