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La Haine

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

FRANCE| 1994| FRENCH W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES| COLOUR| 95 MINS


Ten years ago, aged 25, director Mathieu Kassovitz emerged with La Haine to become one of the most celebrated young filmmakers of recent years, his debut feature capturing the directing prize at Cannes. One of the most eagerly anticipated films of the festival, La Haine is a brutal, searing indictment of urban strife and police brutality seen through the eyes of a band of teens bent on violence.
After a 16-year-old boy is savagely beaten by the police, his housing project pals (Vincent Cassel, Hubert Kounde and Said Taghmaoui), fed up with police brutality, decide to take their revenge on the system. With a stolen cop’s gun and a bottomless well of hatred among them, they set about finding the policeman and teaching him a lesson. Kassovitz frames the story in 24 frenetic hours, shoots with a handheld camera in grainy black-and-white, and cuts rapidly from scene to scene and shot to shot, using jarring intertitles to situate the audience. It’s a daring, impressive, bold and impassioned work that might provoke comparisons to Quentin Tarantino or Spike Lee, but Kassovitz can certainly stand on his own.

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