Mathieu Kassovitz’s ‘La Haine’ (1/31/12)

30 Sep

Yet another great film in black and white, the film’s narrative content and camerawork reminded me of a Spike Lee movie, however the ending where everyone dies reminded me of a Scorcese or Tarantino movie. The black and white style of La Haine contributes to its theme of violence for several reasons. The violence in the film is glorified in that we are asked to sympathize with rioters and thugs, and how it would seem that every reaction is an action for or against violence. The officials and officers of the city are working against the violent gang syndicates that have become evident, and the gangs have begun to riot in response to the police state the area has become. The jarring editing in the camera is exactly what tied my mind to Spike Lee; in more ways than one this seemed a lot like Do the Right Thing. Black and white also exaggerates race in the film, creating the contrast of black and white evident.

            The banlieue depicted in the film seemed exaggerated to a bit, but yet again, I’ve never seen any part of France so I have no reference. It would just seem as though that violence is way up between rivals and that everybody seems to fight each other, especially the scene in the culdesac or block I couldn’t tell and the people are yelling at Vinz from different windows. There’s so much hate in the film that it must be why they chose the name they did. The film acts as a very enclosed space and many of the backgrounds are concrete or fence with alleyways and ladders to roofs, so the viewer gets this sense of claustrophobia. The hand-held camera motion doesn’t help freeing the viewer, which I believe was intentional to create a sense of urgency in the topic for the audience.

            Women in the film seem to have created a domestic state for themselves in the film, as Hubert’s mom is really the only woman we see. She cooks, cleans, and sews all day in a pattern of domesticity, but I heard that women do that in the projects to feel safer than on the outside where violence and rape are quite possible. I would say “Otherness” functions as the root of this film especially considering the multiple heated arguments. The Police and the criminals both embody the idea of the Other, because depending on which side you’re on the opposite becomes the anti-normative behavior. It would seem as if crime is being taken advantage of by the media, in that they exploit criminals to get a story, but journalism’s always been like that. Everybody needs a story for the air. 

1 Comment

Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Scholarly Essays/Responses


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One response to “Mathieu Kassovitz’s ‘La Haine’ (1/31/12)

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