la haine

March 23, 2012

As you were watching La Haine, what were your thoughts and feelings?  Were you wondering where it was headed?  Did you get frustrated with the main characters?  Were you more or less angry with the police?  What did you think of the way we saw the characters in relation to their environment and others around them?  Besides the black and white cinematography, what else added to the sense of realism?  What took away from it?  These are just possible prompts, but feel free to say what you wish.



  1. Watching La Haine was very challenging for me because of the interaction between the three main characters. In American made movies, when there is a lot of action, scenes move quicker, characters talk louder and faster, and the audience in turn gets “excited.” However, in La Haine, I felt “excited” the entire time because the teenage boys were in constant argument mode with each other. Honestly, it drove me nuts.
    Surprisingly, I really did like the ending. Although it was very vague because we are not sure who pulled the trigger or if a gun was even shot at all, I think it added to the overall themes that I found in the movie. Here, teenagers branching out to figure out what they need to do to hit their goals or chase their dreams. Vinz just wanted to be somebody, prove himself, and overall end the oppression he was feeling by the upper classes and the police. Hubert wanted to move away from the projects. And, Said really just wanted to have fun. In the end of the movie, Vinz did get his opportunity to feel his power when he pointed the gun at the skinheads who were going to beat up his friends.

  2.   I think you should always start the semester by showing this movie. I loved it, even though it’s a foreign film and in black and white. The characters were well played and, most importantly, well written. They had chemistry. Their strong and unique bond made them feel real. The humor and they way they treated each other made them real as well. Also, I wouldn’t like it if it was in color. Making in black and white made it obvious that the end is a tragedy and gave the audience no room to judge based how they look like but by their environment. It also gives a sense that the world is in black and white.

    I saw the movie as a battle over power between Hubert and Vinz. Once Vinz took the gun, he seemed on edge and walking with confidence. He wanted to prove something and now that he has the gun he proved it. Moreover, I found that whoever is holding the gun gets immunity. When Hubert and Said get interrogated after visiting/fighting with Snoopy, Vinz got away. Then at the end of the movie, Vinz and Said are stopped by the skinheads just moments after Vinz gives the gun to Hubert.

     I feel that the director did not show the meaning that the gun deserved in the movie. Even though social class is what the movie is mainly about, I still feel that there is something different about the gun. Vinz daydreams about killing a police officer. Moments later, he hesitated to kill that guy with a bloody face while Hubert told him to. Also, in the beginning when Vinz hid the gun, we don’t see where he hid it. But when he went back to get it, we see exactly where it was.

  3. I was certainly wondering where the story was headed. I knew there had to be a final conflict between the two sides at the end of the film, or some resolution between them, the two sides being the young outsiders of Europe ( One of middle eastern decent, one of African descent and one of Jewish descent) who live in the projects, and the uniformed lawmen. The black and white of the film reinforced this idea, as well as the boxing we see throughout (Hubert owns a gym, and when we first see him he is in gloves and shorts, Vinz also attends a a match later), same goes for the violent language we hear all the time, and the importance placed on the gun and the ambiguity of Vinz. There are two sides opposing each other here and we’re always reminded of it. The opening credits even call this to mind, showing us real footage from the riots that took place.
    I didn’t find myself frustrated by the main characters at all. They just seemed like lost kids trying to enjoy themselves, frustrated with the world and the situation they found themselves in. Another aspect of the film that made it feel real was the general lack of a plot. These are kids walking around the city, getting high and bullshitting with each other, joking around and discussing the brutal beating their friend was given. It felt like this could really have happened somewhere.

  4. I really enjoyed this film, it may actually be one of my favorites that we have seen so far. I liked how realistic it was, it felt so real, like these were real guys, who are living real lives. Their conversations were even realistic, whether they were joking with each other or having an argument. Another aspect of the realism that the movie showed was all the scenes of the three characters just sitting around in silence. This is how life is sometimes, there isnt always constant movement in our lives, and it showed that their lives were kind of at a stand still while so much chaos, poverty and hurt still continues in the world without change. I felt like the black and white filming really helped the movies tone and it surpised me that it didnt bother me. I also felt like this movie shows that people are people and poverty and crime is everywhere because the only thing that made the situation different was the that it was in France. The same movie could have been done but with Americans instead and it would have held the same meaning and told the same story. It was so much like what underprivileged americans who live in the projects deal with, so I really felt like it was internationally relatable.

  5. I enjoyed this film. I was angry at the ending but I think that it was neccesary for the film. I think that the charachters were harder to love in this film because they were so harsh. This was emphasized by the gritty scenary and black and white filming. The image of the gun was something that kept coming back so I knew that violence was going to be something that would hurt or kill all of the charachters. What I didn’t ecpect was to be sad over Vince’s death because he was the most annoying character and meanest one. By having him give Hubert the gun at the end suggested a change in his personality and seeing him not be able to kill a man made him more redeamable. By killing him I think that the movie was trying to show how you are unable to get out of the projects no matter how innocent you are like Said or how hard you work like Hubert. I liked how they showed the time ticking because it kept me on edge and also showed how in just a few minutes the boys could go from joking to dieing. I also liked how Huberts quote came back at the end because it was sort of erie and also brought the story back around. Overall I think this gave me an idea of what the project is like through the eyes of a teenager and made me incredibly sad for anyone who has to see the things these boys saw.- Delaney McDermott

  6. I was kind of confused while watching this movie. I wasn’t exactly sure what the plot was. I knew that there was conflict- the battle between the local police and the teenagers- but I didn’t know exactly what the overall plot was. It seemed as though the three main characters were kind of just running all over the place and causing chaos wherever they went. However, I did still like the movie. As others have mentioned before me, it seemed real. It didn’t seem as though the dialogue was scripted (except for the random characters with their even more random stories at different points) but for the most part I felt as though I was watching people I knew. The characters were very relatable.

    Throughout the whole movie I felt very tense. The scenes were intense; the conflict was ever present. There really wasn’t a time where I felt I could take a breath because nothing was going to happen. I felt in almost every scene like something bad could happen at any moment, and I suppose that’s how the characters in this movie felt as well. Their lives were not sugar coated and simple. They, too, could have chaos imposed on them at any moment. Just like we, as the viewers, felt as well.

    I was disappointed in the end a little bit. Vinz, throughout the whole movie, is so set on making a difference (even if he wants to go about it in the wrong way). He just wants things to change for his part of town. They never do, though. Things stay exactly the same, if not worse. Vinz is shot for basically no reason, and I think the other characters at that moment realize that this is their lives and it will never change.

    I also really liked the character development of Hubart throughout the movie. He was a very in-depth character- one that I could believe. He had internal conflict as well as the social conflict surrounding him. As viewers, most of us have had internal conflict at least once in our lives so we could relate to him. I thought all the characters in this film were deep and relatable. Very believable. I say kudos to the directors for that aspect.

  7. I rather enjoyed viewing La Haine. I felt that the black and white cinematography gave the film feel more gritty. Also i felt it made a statement that the film was not about color, as it removed that aspect from the viewers mind. This movie portrayed that divide between the social classes. We saw several examples where this divide was apparent. The cops in the ghetto were not even really cops, they seemed more to be hired thugs who were mascara ding as cops and treated the citizens they interacted with like lower class citizens. As soon as Vinz, Hubert, and Said arrived in the city they were able to ask a cop for directions with not a single problem.

    During the entire film, i had an ominous feeling that something was going to happen to one of the three main characters. Honestly, i thought Hubert would be the victim due to the fact he seemed to be the most righteous person out of their group. Again, this was not due to color, but because of how the character was portrayed within the plot. When Vinz gets shot at the end of the movie i half expected Hubert to walk away and not get involved, but he decides in that moment that a stand need be made. We are left not knowing what happens after he raises the gun, but the fact remains that Hubert still stood for the cause.

    The entire film made me angry toward the police, the government. The current state of France depicted in the movie showed a repression and lack of understanding from the government. We also see an example of the corruption in place when Hubert and Said are detained and abused. I believe that the group was a part of a movement which needed to happen. The governing body depicted in the movie had to much power and was repressing the people which they claimed to protect. It was clear that the main characters felt the need to make it statement that a government should fear its people and not vice versa.

  8. While I was confused through a lot of La Haine, wondering what the message was going to be, I really did enjoy it. I think it probably showed a realistic account of what goes on in those types of situations.

    My thoughts are really confusing and so I’ll try to articulate them as best I can. I got to thinking after class about the scenes we talked about. Like the one where the characters are standing on top of the building and one of them spits. The camera work and spatial editing was very interesting and kind of confusing. It showed all of the buildings around them, and then finally the two characters. The same with the aerial shot earlier on. In my opinion, I think the filmmaker was trying to show that these men were just tiny specks in the city and world. There was a line that I thought of when one of them says he fees like an ant just wondering along without a purpose and for much of the film it seems like they really don’t have a purpose. I can’t count how many conflicts could have been avoided had they really had a purpose in their lives.

    I think this whole idea also goes along with the way Hubert (I think) said that there wouldn’t even be a point to shooting one cop. It wouldn’t do anything for their greater purpose, yet in the end he shoots them. Maybe the editing was meant to show just how lost these men really were.

  9. I generally agree with the comments made so far. I didn’t understand the use of black and white the first half hour or so into the film, but as it went on I realized that was representative of how they literally see the world. I like the earlier observation of gun immunity – looking back, I think that seemed to be true (until the ending, arguably, with the gun-holders pointing at each other). I also didn’t think Vinz would be the one to get killed; I had a feeling someone was going to get shot down or at least critically injured at some climatic point, and I honestly thought it was going to be Sayid since in most of the film he seemed to be the “middle man” of the group (and, in my eyes, he had the least development of the three). I certainly didn’t predict it would be Vinz’s fall to give Hubert his resolve, especially since his character developed towards the end and I thought he was going to try to change his life/outlook had he survived, but it just goes to show the sad, wasted potential of the youth. I didn’t expect the ending to play out the way it did, but overall it can be said that it was realistic given the environment they live in. I would have liked to see more back story, but the characters played off each other in a believable fashion. All in all, I enjoyed the film in retrospect, though it left me confused at first..

  10. La Haine is my favorite film thus far that we’ve watched this semester. I found it to be relatable and interesting. I had a feeling that it was going to end the way that it did because in films like this people die and kids don’t make it out of the ghetto/projects. Its sad but true and this type of pain happens in all parts of the world. I found the film easy to follow and couldn’t take my eyes away from the screen. I found the banter between the characters to be realistic and found the film overall to be gritty and real. I want to add this film to my collection and have been telling everyone about it.

  11. The entire time I was watching La Haine, I knew something bad was going to happen and was anticipating the moment. I thought that something was going to happen to the younger boy Saied because he seemed like the most innocent of the boys. When they were being abused by the police officers, Hubert was trying his best to protect him. The cops also grabbed him saying that he was the leader of the boys which seemed ridiculous to me. I was constantly frustrated with the main characters throughout the film. I just wanted them to be normal and not make any trouble. They seemed like they were incapable of not causing a scene everywhere they went. When they went to the art show, the people were giving them a chance to look around and speak to them even though it was obvious the other people didn’t believe they belonged there. When the women called them out about talking to them rudely, the boys flipped out and caused a huge unnecessary scene. I was angry with the police and their abuse of power that they held. I understood that the entire film was based on a police officer going too far with a boy and killing him, it still made me upset that it wasn’t just that cop in that area of town. It seemed everywhere the boys went; the cops were power hungry and liked to dominate their power knowing there was nothing the boys could do about it.
    I think that it was interesting that throughout the film Vinz was carrying the officer’s gun. He was constantly referring to it and making Hubert hesitant about what he was going to do. When they found out the boy died from his injuries, they were worried about where he went, thinking he was going to kill a cop. I found it interesting that as soon as Vinz accepted that he couldn’t kill a cop and gave Hubert the gun, that’s when he was killed by a police officer. It seemed like the cop took more than his life from him, because there was that one minute of time where we could see the potential in Vinz with his future and it made it that much worse to see him get killed. This also made Hubert change. We saw him be the responsible one for the majority of the film, he even had his own business. At the end, watching Vinz die made him turn his back on everything he did to improve his life.

  12. La Haine was a great movie that I really felt hit home with more people in the class. It kept me on my toes and made me wonder about police brutality and how corrupt these governments and police forces were. I understood why the main characters were so hot headed and ready to fight by the end of the movie. If I was in a similar situation with the experiences and lives these guys had I would probably be the same way. I was kind of shocked and discouraged by the police. Most of them seemed to be power hungry jerks who didn’t really care for the people they were supposed to protect. The black and white added to it but so did the characters and their stories. Hubert was my favorite character because he seemed to be able to deal with injustice and take it with a level head for the most part. His only failing is when in the end he shoots the cop. But he strives to be a good person despite the situations he is thrust into for most of the movie but realizes that you can’t survive them by smiling and being polite anymore, sometimes you need to bend the rules to survive. It was a good movie that really captured the feeling of conflict and injustice that was rampant at that time.

  13. Like some of the others who have posted so far, I also really enjoyed watching this film. I thought the characters were incredibly intriguing to watch. I found myself constantly surprised while watching the characters interact with one another. Obviously, the black and white added to the overall “feel” of the movie. I really enjoyed the black and white aspect because I believe that it was emblematic of the two different groups presented in the movie (the cops and the rest of the community). The direction in which the film was moving, I kept searching for the ultimate climax. It seemed for most of the movie, the three main characters were just kind of walking through life causing trouble when they felt like it. Then, at the very end, Vinz gets shot and the film ends with Hubert talking about “so far, so good”. This film is truly eye-opening in that it constantly questions authority, rules, morals, and other thematic (big question) elements. I felt that the humor brought up in the movie contributed to the “realness” factor. Apart from the black and white choice in cinematography, the three characters exhibited a ton of humor even in a rather depressing and destructive setting. Overall, I just felt very anxious throughout the entire film. For some reason, I knew that one of the characters was going to be injured (or in Vinz’s case, die). The film held my interest the entire time, even when Vinz gets murdered. I believe Hubert’s discussion of “so far, so good” really sums up the entire movie’s emotional side. The characters, while amongst devastation and hatred, are doing okay for the most part (so far, so good). However, when Vinz dies, the group of three falls down to yet another level of unhappiness…one that is full of sadness and even more hatred.

  14. I really enjoyed La Haine. I agree with others about the use of black and white film–not only did it add a gritty, real feel to the film but it also represented how the boys saw the world. I think that it was easy for us as the audience to connect with the characters at some points, yet at other times the root of some of their problems seemed to be their own actions. Vinz reacted negatively to everything, and just assumed all police were the same–just as he thought all police assumed they were thugs. I think my favorite character was Hubert; Hubert wanted to make something of his life. In the end he did find a way out of the projects, but not in the way we expected him to. I didn’t like the ending very much, but I was expecting something like that to happen. The boys seemed to look for problems and conflicts.

  15. I personally enjoyed this movie. I believe it says alot about the society in which we live in today. The cops in this film are extremly corrupt and the three main characters, while trying to excape the destruction and the ghetto constanly find or create trouble for themselves. Hubert was my favorite character because he was the most dynamic. He showed the most potential and level headedness throughout the movie, though he had more potential to leave the ghetto in the begining of the film than at the end of it. Saiid and Vinz were pretty static characters in that they wanted to fight and seek vengance.

    The corruption of the cops showcases the explotation of power. The mayor has many personal body guards, some of which are in regualr street clothes to tell a large number of boys to get off of a roof. These boys were not causing any problems for themselves or anyone else, yet they needed to relocate. The corruption was most evident when Saiid and Hubert were arrested and then bound to chairs and esentailly tortured. I did not actually watch this part because I cannot watch scenes or movies with human torture in them. However, I did see and hear the one cop who was choking the boys tell the new cop who was sitting in a chair observing these actions “you have to know when to stop.” The other instance of corruption is when the cops pull up out of nowhere and take Saiid and Vinz becuase the one man in street clothes recognizes Vinz from the roof. To me these acts of corruption lend themselves to the realism of the film.

  16. I loved this film. After watching La Haine, I enjoyed the feel that it portrayed to the viewer almost immediately. The beginning took place right after the riots and mayhem that had occurred the previous days, and how pretty much that entire city stopped their daily activities the following day. The feel of the film gave away just that. When following the three friends, they really didn’t know what to do with their time, as they spent it smoking, talking up themselves and attempting to look and act hard to others. Even though it’s noticeable that they’re drop outs, I don’t believe that’s how they normally spend their time. I think the riots and the police’s actions changed who they were at one point, and instead of helplessly accepting their harassments, they retaliate constantly.
    I thought the main characters weren’t really respected much by the others in their environment, simply because of the way others would talk down to them as if they were children. The three friends were really only up and comers in the crime aspect of life, they hadn’t done anything to get the respect of the older neighbors yet. Getting respect seemed to be the primary goal in the story, not only from the neighbors and other thugs, but from the police.
    Besides the black and white cinematography, I thought it depicted/gave the film a documentary style/feel. I think this because of how long the shots were, and if I remember correctly the camera was constantly moving, didn’t see much usage of a tripod, except for long shots and scenery shots.
    Great film! Definitely a favorite from the class.

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