La Haine has got the lot: fantastic music, powerhouse performances and ravishing visuals wedded to propulsive action. Not forgetting an anti-racist message that went off like a pump-action shotgun in the face of modern Europe’s rising New Right. But above and beyond such political credentials, this digitally remastered pulp-thriller landmark simply explodes across the screen like a Molotov cocktail.
An early triumph for writer-director Mathieu Kassovitz, La Haine (1995) was filmed in the hard-knuckled high-rise fringes of Paris that are rarely seen on screen. “People think of Paris as the city of love or the city of light,” the 27-year-old Kassovitz argued. “But where you got love you got hate, where you got light you got darkness.”
Shot with restless cameras in sumptuous high-contrast monochrome, the film traces 24 eventful hours for three Parisian boys in the hood. In the role that catapulted him to stardom, Vincent Cassel plays Vinz with all the swaggering, wired, ugly-sexy insolence of a young Belmondo. Vinz is Jewish, sharp as a blade and seething with attack-dog anger. Meanwhile, Sa