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La Haine (The Criterion Collection)

4.6 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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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

None.

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 (131 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MTEFP0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,495 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "La Haine (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I was a little nervous going into this because of the music and setting, I thought it was going to have a lot of violence and drug use. Overall I was wrong. The film itself is very good but after watching the supplements my appreciation for it really increased. The film is a look at what it's like to live in the public housing areas on the outskirts of Paris. Except for everyone speaking French it feels exactly like you're in the same areas of New York. One of the reasons the film was made was to make people aware that these areas exist in France and that there is a lot of violence and unrest in these areas. This isn't only a very entertaining, well-done film, it's also a bit of a lesson that's very interesting.
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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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Format: Amazon Video
Gosh..I initially stumbled onto this movie partway into the early portion of it on cable tv some years ago toward the later 1990's as I recall. I recall it was just one flick on a channel as I was surfing but after only about two minutes I put the remote control down and was totally immersed. I was born in a big major city tho I have not lived in one for some years and I recall this slice of young male urban life where one seemed to be living in a place that left one with a distinct sense that there was little to no hope or greener pastures coming ones way, that partnered with an obvious connection to the community which we lived, some of the closest friends we've ever had. I loved this slice of life..the strife and struggles the disenfranchised eperience and the reminders of their marginalization by ill treatment by policing forces tho all lived a life that essentially walked a tight-rope of lawfulness is one that is not unfamiliar. This angle of French ghettoized life and the style by which it is displayed and portrayed is phenominal. I'm sure that there are many that saw this and felt like they got a clear sense of what youth life in the Paris Ghettos (in the suburbs as opposed to the 'inner city' as we might be familiar with). I was totally sucked into this movie.

Anyhow..as I stumbled onto this movie I had no idea what it was called and did not want to break away to the guide to miss any of it. I figured I'd check the rolling credits at the end or else being that it was cable it would likely come on again in a few days or so and continue doing so throughout the month, so no worries. Alas..I never did quite grab the correct name of the title and for some reason what stuck with me was: "its not how far you fall, its how you land".
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