La Haine Analysis

Year Released: 1995

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

Language: French

Stars: Vincent CasselImage result for les banlieues

Social Context

  • La Haine is set in 1990’s
  • Set in outskirts of Paris – Les Banlieues  (urban estate).
  • Within French society, French police have been known to kill innocent, young, French minorities by accident.
  • There have been over 300 incidents reported.

One of the most heard about cases is Makome M’Bowle, a young back man who was “accidentally shot” whilst in police custody, chained to a radiator.

  • This caused Riots throughout France – which are shown in the opening scene of La Haine.
  • The government also leave these civilians to fend for themselves, and there is no help given to them. Within France, there is a split division between the rich and the poor.



Image result for vinz la haine quotesHubert:

  • Non mainstream black – not into violence, takes a subdued, pacifistic approach.
  • Alpha- Male – responsible and leader
  • However, like KON results into violence. Due to poverty, crime is inevitable. Police caused him to retaliate!
  • Stuck in a cycle of crime – can’t escape no matter how hard he tries to leave.
  • High Class Society won’t accept him



  • Aggressive & Short tempered
  • Impulsive Behaviour –  always on edge. Eg) fights with police, parisian citizens and rich drug dealer.
  • Anti hero
  • Obsessed with guns and weapons – Taxi Driver scene Thinks violence is the answer to solve all his problems
  • Jewish Youth living in Paris – outsider

Image result for said la haineSaid:

  • Humourous – childish
  • Poverty – steal hotdog
  • Objectifies women
  • “Said isn’t a french name” Arab sympathise with him most, outsider.
  • Follows Vinz and Hubert as an annoying little brother

 Key Scene Analysis

Opening Scene – Riots

  • Real life footage of riots – archives
  • Audience positioned behind the police – safety NOT TRUE
  • “Justice for Makome” – graffiti on wall Social Context
  • Represents the ethnic minorities as antagonists
  • Bob Marley “Burning and Looting” – Non diegetic sound track fits well with scenes being shown
  • Police are protected with weapons and government
  • Introduces the theme of conflict and power


Mirror Scene

  • Cinematography: Zoom in on Vinz’ face through mirror from behind his shoulder
  • Reference from Taxi Scene starring Robert De Niro INTERTEXTUALITY
  • Obsession with the gun – thinks it will solve all his problems
  • Editing – sound of gunshot creates tension and shock to audience as it is unexpected
  • Sees crime as a way in escaping poverty
  • Wide Lens
  • Wearing nothing but a chain around neck and silver watch – gangster like impression
  • Violent and aggressive

Rooftop Scene

  • Lack of cuts in scene = freedom, fluidity and safety, as well as realism
  • minimal editing and lots of camera movement – less of a construct
  • Said steals hot dog – poverty cant afford one buck
  • Reference to Said’s sister as a sex object and way to pay off debts – no respect!
  • References to America and Hollywood “Lethal Weapon” – Don’t belong in France so looks else where to fit into
  • Helicopter noise in distance – showing they are always being watched. No escape
  • Vinz talks to Hubert about jail and help – Vinz feels he doesn’t want to do community service as community don’t help him

Ending Scene Image result for La Haine end scene

  • Vinz gives gun to Hubert – responsible and may need it more in his new business
  • Hubert is forced into violence – inevitability like KON
  • Gun = power being handed over Hubert is alpha male
  • deep focus and no cuts ‘ build up of tension
  • Tracking hot of Hubert – as he moves quicker so does the camera bilding up dramatic tension
  • Narrative shock – Vinz getting shot – audience left speechless TARANTINO
  • Mirrors the innocent deaths of other minorities by police in France
  • Ambiguous ending, Non Mainstream – audience left to decide for themselves  who was shot
  • Said squints his eyes –  childish waiting for an end

Police Abuse Scene

  • Deep focus on police – showing they are ever present
  • objective viewpoint – forced to watch and be on the police’s side  HELPLESS
  • Poster on walls of semi naked women, as well as beer bottles in the police office – informal and unprofessional. Don’t take their work seriously enough
  • Police shown to have more power – looking up at them as they stand
  • All diegetic sound – realism and natural
  • “Said is not a french name” – isolation and racism
  • “You want to go further but you cant”
  • Abusing power and responsibility – both youths are innocent

Art Gallery Scene

  • Art Gallery – associated with high culture, upperclass people. We know that they do not belong here… Conflict will occur.
  • Close up, juxtaposed with temporal reflexivity and confused facial expressions. Fell as if they are looking at/judging us.
  • Costume – youths are wearing tracksuits whilst others in smart formal wear. Stand out a lot
  • Performance: Sitting on floor slouching on art work, don’t know how to behave
  • When in food table, they eat the food fast, as if they are starving. Animalistic

Image result for art gallery scene la haine








Why is La Haine set in Black and White?

To enhance a sense of realism by linking it with the real footage from news reports shown in the opening credits. It also adds to the bleak, dull life that the youths enrol More striking and less emotional



Themes in La Haine


  • Gun: only one of them, adds more value
  • Police: able to arrest innocent people and kill them – abuse their power
  • Rich: They have more power than ethnic minorities – art gallery
  • Hubert: May be seen as most powerful out of the 3, alpha male and mature


  • Les Banlieues: Graffiti on walls, empty and lifeless
  • Isolation: The youths have nothing to do all day – slow narrative emphasised by clock that appears on screen
  • No education:”I didn’t go to school, I was brought up on the streets”
  • Resulting into crime to provide : Hubert drug dealing as well as Said stealing hotdog


  • Police vs Youths
  • The gun
  • Rich vs Poor: Art Gala scene is very aggressive “troubled youths”
  • Internal conflict – drug dealing and Hubert

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