“While the film is capable of touching moments and can be very comic at times, what really makes it special is the sense of threat that is carried throughout.”
Rag Week Film Festival kicked off on Monday and, in line with the international theme for day, the showpiece was La Haine; a French film directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. The event itself was perhaps a little underappreciated (with a less than massive turnout) however, the brilliant members of the film society were all on hand to provide a great cinematic experience for the select few, the elite you might say, who had ventured out away from work and even the allure of the pub.
La Haine itself was excellent; it is very much a film rooted in its setting, the banlieues of Paris; suburban ghettos, frequently beset by violence, racial tension, economic despair and aggressive policing. After a night of serious riots the film depicts the day after for three youths; Vinz (Vincent Cassel), Hubert (Hubert Koundé), and Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui). The plot mostly derives from the fact that Vinz has found a police handgun and vows to use it to kill a police officer if their mutual friend Abdel, in hospital following a police beating, dies.
While the film is capable of touching moments and can be very comic at times, what really makes it special is the sense of threat that is carried throughout. Every conversation, every situation, seems to contain the possibility of violence. What it successfully depicts is a cycle of hatred and misunderstanding, which truly blazes into life in the film’s conclusion. It is an entertaining and touching watch that brings the problems of the projects to the screen. In this way it is perhaps gladly out of step with other more pretentious black and white French films and stands out as a true cult gem; starting the RAG week film festival in style.