This afternoon I watched what must be one of my favourite movies of all time, La Haine.
The film, the title of which means Hate, is an incredibly powerful French movie about a group of youths on a deprived housing estate outside Paris (in France the inner cities are outside the cities) the day after a riot started when police beat up a local boy. The three main characters are Vinz, who is Jeiwsh, Hubert, who is black, and Said, who is Arabic. The film follows them as they wander around the estate, and later on into Paris: they talk, smoke dope, get arrested, fight with skinheads, gate-crash art exhibitions, all the time with the events of the riot hanging, especially the loss of a policeman’s gun, over them.
It’s an incredibly acted film with stunning cinematography – I always think that it’s the film that Spike Lee must watch and wonder “Why can’t I make a film this good?” It’s like a black & white Do The Right Thing, but without the annoying polemical tone, and with the style of an art-house movie. The heros in the movie aren’t necessarily the obvious ones, whilst the ending is, within the space of 30 seconds, incredibly life-affirming and utterly devastating.
The scene at the top of the post is one showing an amazing bit of mixing – which other movie would have KRS One and Edith Piaf in the same scene? And carrying on the hip-hop theme, it also includes some amazing break-dancing which you can see below. I love this film more than I can really explain because of scenes like these, and many other reasons, and can only suggest that you buy La Haine now.