Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz when he was just twenty-nine years old, this masterpiece of French cinema depicts the lives of three teenagers facing the realities of France's deep identity crisis. As the writers at www.criterion.com rivetingly describe the plot: "Aimlessly whiling away their days in the concrete environs of their dead-end suburbia, Vinz (Vincent Cassel), Hubert (Hubert KoundÃ©), and SaÃ¯d (SaÃ¯d Taghmaoui)â€”a Jew, an African, and an Arabâ€”give human faces to Franceâ€™s immigrant populations, their bristling resentment at their social marginalization slowly simmering until they reach a climactic boiling point."
Matthieu Kassovitz won the Best Director Award at the Cannes festival and the Cesar Award for Best Picture in 1996. He is most well known in the US for his role in Amelie as Nino Quincampoix, Amelie's romantic interest. He also played more recently in Spielberg's Munich as an agent for the Israeli intelligence unit Mossad.
Leading the excellent cast in La Haine is Vincent Cassel, who achieved stardom in this movie thanks to his powerful performance which artfully combined intensity and charm. And yes, Vincent Cassel is the lucky guy married to the magnificent Monica Belluci .
La Haine accurately portrays the intensity of the riots which have been frequently recurring in France throughout the past fifteen years. The recent French civil unrest in 2005 (remember all the cars burning?) was a very harsh reminder of the country's ongoing struggle between its own identity and growing immigration population.
La Haine sends out an alarming message to the overly complicit citizens of France, who consistently deny the escalating nature of the national crisis upon them. The movie illustrates the dire consequences of France's inaction through the eyes of one character who describes the nation as perpetually falling while incessantly clinging to its mantra: "so far, so good".
The DVD was released today by The Criterion Collection, a privately held company that distributes authoritative consumer versions of 'important classic and contemporary films' on DVD. It can be bought online from Amazon .
For your viewing pleasure, I have included the movie's trailer, so that BrooWaha's readers can get a glimpse of this masterpiece which took way too long to get to the U.S.
Translation of the trailer:
"It's the story a man who falls from the roof of a skyscraper. He keeps himself calm by repeating the same words. 'So far, so good'. 'So far, so good'. 'So far, so good' ... But what matters is not the fall. It's the landing."
For more information about the DVD, please visit Criterions's page at: http://www.criterion.com/asp/release.asp?id=381