Arts & Culture

Redefining Rebellion: La Haine

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm | 11 September 2020
BFI Southbank | £8 - £16

Turning the camera away from iconic Paris to the concrete banlieue, Mathieu Kassovitz’s second film as a director changed the cultural landscape of French cinema.

After all, La Haine was dubbed an anti-police movie even before its first screening at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, where the then 29-year-old French director won the best director gong. The security policemen on the red carpet there turned their backs on Kassovitz and his three stars – Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé and Saïd Taghmaoui – when they walked the red carpet. It was confirmation, if it were needed, of La Haine’s anti-establishment credentials.

Taking place over the 24 hours following the police shooting of a young man, Kassovitz wrote La Haine in the aftermath of a riot that took place on 6 April 1993 following the death of a teenage boy, Makome M’Bowole, who’d been shot in the head while in police custody.

La Haine begins with images of rioting and a news report that a young Arab has been left in a coma, brutalised by police – a storyline inspired by the death of Malik Oussekine in 1986.

Kassovitz shows the world through the eyes of three friends, Arab, Jew and Black, frustrated at politicians and the media excusing police brutality. The best friends from different cultural backgrounds who grew up in the banlieue (the term for the impoverished areas surrounding large cities) want to see their friend in the hospital. But when they’re not allowed in, they go to Paris to watch a boxing match and meet myriad strange characters. All the while, a clock is ticking, but what is the bomb waiting to go off?

The black-and-white visuals, thumping hip-hop soundtrack and graffiti-lined streets underscore the urgency and rebellion at the heart of this game-changing classic.

The screening on Saturday 12 September 17:20 will be followed by a Q&A with the director.

Purchase your ticket here

The film is being screened until 1st October 2020.

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