La Haine

la-haine-posterFrench crime drama from 1995.
Starring: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Writers: Mathieu Kassovitz
Bechdel test: Fail


Three young men, Vinz, Hubert and Saïd, from the projects on the outskirts of Paris spends the first 24 hours after a violent riot trying to go about their daily life.


This is a strong movie with an important message. It is made in black and white for some reason, maybe to lend a quality of sober documentary feel to the story, and I think it succeeds on that account.

Several times during the movie I started thinking about a book I read as a young student called “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire. A bit simplified the message of the book is that schools and teachers only appreciate the knowledge and skills of the children brought up on “fine culture” while children from poorer families have many skills and knows a lot, just not the right things. And as long as these skills and this knowledge of the poor are unappreciated at school, it will be difficult to create a society where social mobility and education for everyone is a reality. (Here is a link to “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” on amazon, if you are interested.)

In the movie a noticed several times how skilled and knowledgeable the young men in this community were, and still, none of them seemed employed or to have much education. If their abilities had been acknowledged during their school years, maybe some of them would have had a different life. This seemed especially apparent during a scene in an art gallery where the three main characters are met with strange modern art, while they routinely seemed to meet art of much higher quality in the projects. Only difference might be that the artist in the art gallery had gone to a school that had made him an artist in some “proper” way.


“La Haine” means hate in French and it shows how hate breads hate. The message is delivered well and I understood why these young men started to hate. The police in the movie are raw and brutal racists, and there are no other avenues open for Vinz, Hubert and Saïd, all they can do is hate the police. After the movie I see how hate is the only way for them.

The acting was great, especially the three young men played by Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé and Saïd Taghmaoui. The cinematography was very strong and the music was just the right kind for me. Many familiar old tracks and a few new ones, which made me enjoy the movie even more.

The story is important and illustrates a difficult part of today’s society. It is hard to face that this is real, maybe, but never the less, something we all should do on occasion. The movie offers no solutions, but only explains a phenomenon that not everyone knows well enough.


I like this movie a lot, and it made a strong impression. I will most likely watch it again some day.


I would recommend this movie to any adult viewer. It is not a lighthearted movie for an evening with popcorn, but something for a more exploratory and serious mood. It would be good if everyone understood the message in “La Haine”, and maybe everyone should watch it once. The story explains so well how the hate between police and some group of people can begin.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “La Haine” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

18 movies down. 347 to go.

If you want to get “La Haine” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Inception“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.

2 thoughts on “La Haine

  1. Pingback: Aimless and on vacation | Dreamberry

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