Wednesday, September 24, 2008

La Haine

As part of the syllabus, the class will be watching the French black-and-white 1995 movie, La Haine this evening. It is about three teenage friends and their struggle to live life in the banlieues of Paris. The title derives from a line spoken by Hubert: "La haine attire la haine!", "hatred attracts hatred."

"The film tells the story of three young friends in an impoverished multi-ethnic housing project (a ZUP - zone à urbaniser en priorité) in the aftermath of a great riot. Vinz (Vincent Cassel), who is Jewish, is filled with rage. He sees himself as a gangster ready to win respect by killing a cop, and models himself after Travis Bickle from the film Taxi Driver. Saïd - Sayid in some English subtitles - (Saïd Taghmaoui) is a happy and talkative North African who tries to find middle ground between his two friends' response to life. Hubert (Hubert Koundé) is a black boxer and drug dealer. Most quiet of the three, he sadly contemplates the ghetto and the hate around him. He is probably the only one who has a minimum of consciousness about the state of things. He wants to simply leave this decadent world of violence and hate behind him but doesn't know how since he lacks the means to do it. A friend of theirs, Abdel Ichaha, has been brutalised by the police after the riot and lies in a coma. Vinz finds a policeman's revolver, lost in the riots. He vows that if their friend dies from his injuries, he will use it to kill a cop."

So - it is not going to be "watching for pleasure" this evening. It will be heavy stuff - and since there will be class discussions that follow, I will somehow need to relate it to (and the abuse of) power, authority, force and how they are all embodied physically in these characters and how their sentiments, passions, sympathies are played out. Throughout all these, what are the politics and the affect underlying them ... 

I wanna stay at home, instead...

Hubert: "Heard about the guy who fell off a skyscraper? On his way down past each floor, he kept saying to reassure himself: So far so good... so far so good... so far so good. How you fall doesn't matter. It's how you land!"

10 comments:

saedah said...

I heart French Films. This is an award-winning film that I have yet to watch. The director acted in Amelie,a controversial film that clinched many awards at film festivals. Catch it if you can. It's a 'homely' movie. :)

dew embun said...

Errr...I'd rather consider how I stand and walk on AFTER I land! Hehe

M&F said...

Mathieu Kassovitz is one of my favourite French film directors... he directed the latest Babylon A.D. Have you watched it yet?

In fact, I like very much the style of French movies and certainly the sense of humour, remember "Priceless" and your loud and hilarious laughs ;-)

If you like it, I would recommend you watching Les Rivieres Pourpres (or in English "The Crimson Rivers"), Vincent Cassel also plays in the movie. Btw, do you know he is Minica Bellucci's husband, what a lucky guy! ;-)

Your recent entries have been very profound in literature and intellectual relfection but very interesting topics...

Enjoy the movie and the "sky diving" in French ghetto areas (similar to HDB but sadly it is not very safe in those places in France)...

Take care,

M&F

NunBun said...

How was La Haine bro?

M&F - I have to agree that French directors have something crazy and wonky about them - I had my first taste in the Fifth Element. Looks I'll go and watch Babylon 5 (also to do with 5!)

Annisa said...

Wow...sounds fantastic. Did you enjoy it? I'll try and catch a DVD of it. I did a subject called Cinema Studies at uni, and it was the same. We watched it as a class, at the uni's little cinema and went for a tutorial later in the week to discuss the film. Unfortunately, I was always asleep during the screenings because it was always shown after lunch and I'd doze off and have my arvo nap! At one of the tutorials, the tutor once asked me "What do you think about that particular scene?" I answered "Ermm, haven't thought about it!" :D I would travel back in time now, and would love to redo that subject!

TheHoopoe said...

yeah .... it was thought provoking, esp watching it critically.
cinema studies? that is awesome ... we have that here too ... and i wished i was doing it - maybe take a minor credit for it - but than again, i wanna do music compositions too, and language and .... i don't have time for so many things and possibilities here.
i don't remember having so much choices back home - you know what i mean right? :)

Annisa said...

Yup..know exactly what you mean! It's getting better now (I was told) with more courses being introduced at our institutions, but before, it was rubbish. That's why I went abroad. They didn't have PR, Comms, Media (Journalism, TV/Filming and Radio). And this was all I wanted to do. Yes, cinema studies was awesome (when I was awake, that is!) I remember watching Raging Bull, Breakfast at Tiffany's and lots of french films. Loved it. Yes, I took it as a minor credit/elective.

Annisa said...

Lucky you..to have so many choices at the minute! I'd love to do languages..I bought French and Spanish phrase books a couple of months back. My friend Farhana (she's mastered the language) and her husband Romain came to visit from Paris and I tried speaking to them in French. Love that language..it's very soothing. Then Spanish, I thought it'd be a good idea cos we go to Tenerife every year, and the only words I know are gracias, si, hola, adios and the numbers one to ten! It'd be nice if I can try to string a sentence to the lovely Spanish waitresses, when ordering my Paella, when we head for the Canaries again this Dec :)

TheHoopoe said...

spanish is definitely on the table for me. the "second language" in US is spanish :)
but more importantly, my prof who is supervising - she is spanish :)

TheHoopoe said...

after going through discursive debates in class on the movie - you have no idea how we have dissected the film and how complicated that seemingly innocent movie has caused my brain to burst.

but it was really worth it - the depth and profoundness of it - in view of the things we discussed in class :)

i will not watch a movie in the same manner again...