Friday, August 24, 2012

La Haine

Three juvenile delinquents, an Arab, black, and a Jew, roam aimlessly through the volatile streets of urban Paris. When one of their mates in severely beaten by police, the erratic Vinz (Vincent Cassel) happens across an officer's firearm that went missing in the skirmish, and vows vengeance on any cop he crosses if his friend were to perish. "Le Haine" is the explosive sophomore film from Mathieu Kassovitz that vividly portrays Parisian street life in crisp black and white, and seems typical of the highly kinetic independent films of the time (I thought most of Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing"). It features a trio of fine performances from Hubert Kounde, Said Taghaoui, and especially Cassel, which wound up being a breakthrough for him. Although there is a lot more inspiration than perspiration here and the film seems to be mimicking rather than creating, Kassovitz's film is a stark often startling view of a side of Paris life that many of us hardly ever associate with it.