Criterion Year Week 40: La Haine (Hate)

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

La Haine (Hate)

Spine Number: 381

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

Genre: Drama

Normally, when you refer to a movie as "timeless," it's referring to a feel or the overall quality. The Godfather 1 and 2 are both such fantastic movies that nothing is lost in viewing them years after the fact. Sometimes, this word has a different meaning.

Mathieu Kassovitz's 1995 "La Haine," while undoubtedly a good movie, is timeless for an entirely different reason. The film follows three young men in the ghetto outskirts of Paris in the 24 hours following a riot. Marginalized young men whiling away their time in a concrete wasteland devoid of any real opportunity. They are disaffected, disrespected, and resentful of being pushed to society's literal and figurative fringes.

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While a heavier focus is placed on France's still ongoing immigration... we'll call it "situation," the feeling of anger, helplessness, and division is rather universal. This film is timeless because if you were to watching it today it felt like it was meant for what is happening right now, as it would if you were to watch in in 2005, or 1995, or 1987, or 1975, or 1965.

This film is about people who don't feel like society has anything to offer them, or any use for them. Young people who feel trapped and powerless in a system that doesn't care about them at all. Filled with simmering anger and resentment "La Haine" doesn't make the mistake of offering easy answers. Rather it confronts the fact that there is guilt and victimization on all sides.

In what is probably the most gorgeously photographed non Kurosawa movies we've watched "La Haine" addresses, "a society on its way down. And as it falls,it keeps telling itself: "So far so good... So far so good... So far so good." It's not how you fall that matters. It's how you land"

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Next Week:

Spine number 396: Ace in the Hole

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Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

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Thanks for listening, and until next week...



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