“La Haine” (1995) is the second feature film written and directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. The plot follows 19 hours in the lives of a multi-ethnic 20-something trio of friends from the housing projects of Paris where racism, police brutality and poverty have created a social pressure cooker. After finding a police pistol in the aftermath of a riot in which one of their friends was severely beaten by police, they navigate a series of perilous situations exemplifying simmering race and class hatred in French society (often escalated by the presence of the weapon). Though set in France, the basic storyline is all too relatable for disenfranchised people everywhere including the US. The film features great performances from the three leads (Hubert Koundé, Vincent Cassel and Saïd Taghmaoui), striking black and white cinematography by Pierre Aïm, and excellent writing/direction by Mathieu Kassovitz.
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