La Haine

24 hours in the lives of three young men in the French suburbs the day after a violent riot.

As its title is spoken, La Haine reaches a turning point. Hubert warns Vinz: “La haine attire la haine.” Hatred breeds hatred. Moments later, Saïd and Hubert (Vinz is notably absent) are at the mercy of police officers abusing their power. And for letting the first act convince me otherwise, the rest of La Haine chastises me for believing things could ever be so black and white.

The perspective of Vinz, Hubert and Saïd is near impenetrable. They are aggressive, ignorant and hateful – misperceiving themselves as a force for justice. And like Vinz’s cow, the idea that their view of a corrupt, violent and discriminatory police force might be a figment of their imaginations was one I couldn’t shake. The day after the riot begins without incident; their role in the violence of the night before seems misplaced and opportunistic. These, I naïvely tell myself, are the bad guys.

La Haine

But hatred breeds hatred (breeds hatred breeds hatred). If La Haine‘s objective is to highlight an outsider’s skewed objective of civil unrest, as illustrated by the media, or worse, his own prejudices, mission accomplished. Over three acts, I’m taught nothing is so black and white. The circle has no beginning or end, and if we afford the corrupt, the violent, and the hateful only the most shallow of motives, we misunderstand them. Twenty-one years ago, La Haine told us: “Look at this. Now look again. Now look again.” There’s a lot more going on. Hopefully, sometime soon, we’ll listen.

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