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La Haine (The Criterion Collection)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Injured by a police inspector during an interrogatory, Abdel is at hospital, almost dead. In the suburbs where he lives, some riots happened during the night, and one policeman lost his gun. One of Abdel's friend, Vinz, finds it. Vinz and his two pals, Said and Hubert, have nothing to do, they try to kill time. Vinz swears that if Abdel dies, he will shoot a policeman...

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It's easy to see why La Haine had such an explosive effect when it was released in France; its potent portrait of racial discord and life in the housing projects outside of Paris is at odds with France's egalitarian vision of itself. This impact wouldn't have lasted, however, were the movie purely a political statement; fortunately, it's a riveting journey that follows three unemployed young men (Said Taghmaoui, Hubert Kounde, and Vincent Cassel) as they wander and try to decide what to do with the gun that one of them has found. This simple scenario results in a remarkably complex examination of race, class, violence, and the abuse of power in modern society, yet never feels preachy or forced. Hugely influenced by American directors like Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee (particularly Do the Right Thing), La Haine riffs through different styles and techniques, yet the movie feels organic and whole, driven by a genuinely passionate point of view. Dynamic, reckless, sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle (and sometimes both; in one scene, Hubert and Said have been picked up by the police, who torture them for kicks. But watching the abuse is a rookie cop whose face quietly ripples with dismay, helplessness, and resignation), this is a must-see.

As is usual with Criterion releases, the extra features are excellent, including an in-depth but accessible documentary about the housing projects and riots that inspired the film, retrospective material on the making of the movie, behind-the-scenes horseplay, intriguing deleted scenes (with brief but revealing explanations about the deletion from director Mathieu Kassovitz), and a wonderfully articulate introduction by Jodie Foster, who championed the film upon its release and distributed it through her production company. The audio commentary by Kassovitz, who's fluent in English, is circumspect and thoughtful, with flashes of sardonic humor. Kassovitz's directing career has turned decidedly less political (his more recent movies include The Crimson Rivers and Gothika), but his perspective on La Haine and its inspirations remains sharp and lucid. --Bret Fetzer


Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Vincent Cassel, Saïd Taghmaoui, Hubert Koundé, Benoît Magimel, Francois Toumarkine
  • Directors: Mathieu Kassovitz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MTEFP0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,177 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "La Haine (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 24, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I loved this movie the first time I saw it and have seen it at least a dozen times since. It is a powerful story told as seen through the eyes and lives of three friends who are living in Paris during the riots. The direction of this movie is delicious and so is the character development. A beautiful job is done in introducing each of the three main characters and in giving a bit of insight in to each of their personal lives. One is a tough guy with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove, another a good guy who has no choice but to sell hash to support his family, and the third a kid who doesn't seem to care about much other than getting laid and trying to impress his friends. What really caught me about this movie was how realistic I found it. It was funny and hard and real and disturbing and fabulous. I highly recommemend this film to anyone who enjoys quality and substance. It has an AWESOME soundtrack too!!!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Joe Tietjen on April 6, 2006
Format: DVD
This movie not only introduced me to the wonderful wealth of French film, but awoke a desire to find movies that were not your typical Hollywood fodder.

I remember feeling intrigued as the movie began (Channel 4 - UK), but feeling dejected when I realised it was French with subtitles, and evidently in black & white. Now, as a 15 year old boy at the time (1997) it was going to take something special to keep me watching. I didn't stop talking about it for days.

Here's the imdb plot summary:

"Injured by a police inspector during an interrogation, Abdel is at a hospital, almost dead. In the suburbs where he lives, some riots happened during the night, and one policeman lost his gun. One of Abdel's friends, Vinz, finds it. Vinz and his two pals, Said and Hubert, have nothing to do so they try to kill time. Vinz swears that if Abdel dies, he will shoot a policeman..."

The movie follows the 3 youths over the course of a day and night, and as their growing need for revenge becomes apparent, so does their awareness of the anarchy that surrounds them. They are faced with the dilemma of whether to exact their revenge or stand above it.

The journey is powerful and gripping, culminating in an explosive ending that really hits home. I cannot recommend this movie enough.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bella Laurent on February 8, 2007
Format: DVD
This is one of those movies that sticks in your head. I rented it on VHS years ago when it first came out. I heard about it through its attachment to Jodi Foster's production company Egg Pictures. They help it to get released in the States. From the opening voiceover hurtling towards the ground, to the brutal ending, it will move you. The performances are terrific, and the screenplay does a fabulous job of ratcheting up the tension as the movie progresses.

Whatever your feelings and knowledge about the issues surrounding immigration, this movie shows you how from the immigrants' perspective, the tensions of their new society can clash with those of their original ethnic society into a powderkeg waiting to blow. The three main characters are young and in over their heads. Their feelings of helplessness combine with the fortuitous discovery of a policeman's lost gun to lead them where their not sure they really want to go. It's an intersting and powerful dilemma to watch.

Highly recommended!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David J. Zemens on February 15, 2007
Format: DVD
I spent $40 a few years ago to buy the Zone 2 version, which I didn't know was unplayable in my DVD player. I will gladly, but somewhat grudgingly, spend another $30 to get a copy of this movie that I can watch without limitations. Truly an eye-opening movie; France's "Boyz in tha Hood," only better in pretty much every way.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By phaedon on March 21, 2007
Format: DVD
i have waited forever to buy this movie states-side. the only copy i've ever owned was on vhs and i lost it a long time ago. its been so long since the movie first came out; i remember that it was available as a zone 2 dvd in a european magazine or newspaper (it is common in some countries for them to distribute dvds this way).

anyway. im curious to see what criterion adds to this movie. this movie is a definitive "hip-hop" classic. and not many people know about it here. truly a gem.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marc A. Coignard on September 17, 2005
Format: DVD
I have yet to see the DVD of La Haine. This review is of the VHS version:

Hate (La Haine) is a remarkable film. It follows three friends of different ethnicity through 24 hours in and around Paris. The film begins the day after a riot has struck the slums just outside of Paris. The three characters are Jewish, Arabic, and Black, and are all good friends despite the differences that divide them. This is an excellant character study. The film focuses less on the violence of the slum, but instead focuses on the mentallity of the three young men. After their good friend was brtually beaten by the police, the Jewish one vows that he will kill a police officer if the man dies. This vow haunts the entire film, and although it is almost a plot device, it is soon realised that it is so much more; its a character trait that can be respected once we understand these three men more. Why is one of them so much more prone to a promise of violence than the other two? Does their race/ethnicity matter in the ghetto when they're all as poor as each other? Why do the police harrass them all the time? These are some of the questions that are brought up throughout the film. To know and understand these three chracters is to know the answers. The plot is almost unnecessary in a film like La Haine. This is a chracter study. True, what happened the night before is very important to the story, but only if it properlly involves these three men, which it does quite well. Assuming the subtitles are done properly, the the dialogue is great, and the whole film is shot with a documentary feel. The whole film feels real, and we can relate to the characters because of how real they are. When I first saw this film, it blew me away. I've yet to see its DVD release, but once I find it I will get it.
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Topic From this Discussion
French subtitles?
I just finished watching it and the Criterion edition of 'La Haine' only has English subtitles. Rather surprising for a Criterion edition.
Jul 29, 2009 by steve |  See all 2 posts
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