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"Jusqu'ici, tout va bien."
This is the story of a man who falls from a 50-storey apartment block. As he falls, he repeats over and over to reassure himself: "So far so good, so far so good, so far so good." But it's not the fall that's important - it's the landing.
La Haine (English: "Hate") is a black and white French movie, made in 1995 and set in the modern-day slums of Paris -- more precisely, in Seine-Saint-Denis, aka "93" or "neuf-trois" from its department number. Centering around a trio of banlieusards, the film follows them through a roughly 24 hour period from the morning after a riot, through run-ins with the police and unreliable fences, a night wandering around central Paris and back home. The three main characters are Vinz, a hot-headed Jew; Saïd, a wisecracking graffiti artist Beur; and Hubert, the oldest and wisest of the three, who is black. Together, they face prejudice not just because of their races but also because, as banlieusards, they are assumed to be thugs - a reputation they find themselves earning uncomfortably often.
As the title suggests, it is not a happy film, though it does have some moments.
This movie contains examples of:
- Acceptable Targets: "There are good cops, but the only good skinhead is a dead skinhead."
- Given the context, it could also be interpreted as just egging on.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Vinz thinks so, at first.
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The Cow.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Vinz is prone to flights of fantasy.
- Corrupt Cop: Most of the Police presented in the film.
- Creator Cameo: Director Mathieu Kassovitz briefly appears as a skinhead.
- The Danza: Vinz, Saïd and Hubert are played by Vincent Cassel, Saïd Taghmaoui and Hubert Koundé, respectively.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Originally filmed in color, changed in production by Kassovitz himself.
- What Could Have Been: A color re-release was planned in case the original release flopped.
- Downer Ending: See below.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Thought that skinhead looked a little familiar? It's Nino, from Amelie. Who also directed the movie. His father also appears as the owner of an art gallery.
- Police Brutality: a particularly brutal vicious circle relationship between the Paris police and a group of teenage thugs from the local banlieues. The police raid the deprived banlieues, the people who live there fight back, which means the police crack down harder on the area, which means the people start rioting...It eventually culminates in the police shooting an unarmed teenage boy, and one officer and the boy's best friend holding guns to each other's heads. And then the screen goes to black and a single gunshot is heard. End of film.
- Straw Man Has a Point: The behaviour of the main characters and their tendency to escalate anything into a fight can increasingly make one feel that the police's treatment of them is entirely justified.
- What Happened to the Mouse??: Where did that Cow come from? Where did she go?
- Arguably Rule of Symbolism: The police used to be referred to as 'les vaches' (cows) in France. So it's foreshadowing and a possible hallucination by Vinz - there are a number of unexplained instances of this, e.g. when he 'shoots' the police officer in the train station.
- You Talkin' to Me?? : Reenacted by Vinz.