Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pose Reviews a Movie. #19: La Haine (Hate)

In spite of its title, I really really loved La Haine.

Loved it.

I've been telling everyone I know to watch it, adding the endorsement, "it'll make your inner film nerd melt."

And if you don't have an inner film nerd? Well, this movie will probably give you one.

This early endeavor from French director Mathieu Kassovitz is simply very, very impressive.
It manages to nurture plot, character development and aesthetic all at once, and manages to raise a very powerful social and political drama that makes you watch it.

La Haine has the most hypnotic quality--it wrangles your attention from the very beginning, and you almost can't look away until the final scene.

Like, you know those movies that you keep watching even though you have to go to the bathroom twenty minutes in? The ones where you value what you're watching more than the continuing health of your own internal organs? Yep, it's one of those.

The film looks at one of the housing projects outside of Paris, the day after one of the major riots in the early '90s. Through the perspectives of three young residents of the projects, it provides a surprisingly sympathetic look at the story behind the story of the Paris riots in 1993.

La Haine deliberately doesn't spend any time past the opening credits documenting the actual riots, and instead focuses on the systemic causes and consequences of violence, giving the audience the perspective of the insider. And despite its gritty nature, that perspective is beautifully presented.

Kassovitz's film makes no bones about its purpose--it tells you right in the title that it is a film about hate; where it comes from, how it manifests itself, how it is overcome, and what it itself can overcome. The setting and characters frame it well, but it is ultimately a study of one of the most powerful emotions we have, and the things that we do with it.

I won't say much more, since I went into La Haine knowing absolutely nothing about it, and I'm very glad I did.

But I will say this.

If you're looking for a movie that'll move you, put this one into your DVD player, punch yourself in the face and say, "Good. I'm ready."

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