Film: La Haine

"Jusqu'ici, tout va bien."

This is the story of a man who falls from a 50-storey apartment block. As he falls, he repeats over and over to reassure himself: "So far so good, so far so good, so far so good." But it's not the fall that's important - it's the landing.

La Haine (English: "Hate") is a 1995 black and white French movie, directed by Mathieu Kassovitz and set in the modern-day slums at the north of Paris — more precisely, in Seine-Saint-Denis, aka "93" or "neuf-trois" from its department number. Centering around a trio of banlieusards, the film follows them through a roughly 24 hour period from the morning after a riot, through run-ins with the police and unreliable fences, a night wandering around central Paris and back home. The three main characters are Vinz, a hot-headed Jew; Sa´d, a wisecracking graffiti artist Beurnote ; and Hubert, the oldest and wisest of the three, who is black. Together, they face prejudice not just because of their races but also because, as banlieusards, they are assumed to be thugs - a reputation they find themselves earning uncomfortably often.

As the title suggests, it is not a happy film, though it does have some moments.


This film provides examples of:

  • Blown Across the Room: A police officer is blown back into a window when being shot during one of Vinz' Imagine Spots.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The film ends with a standoff between a main character and a villain, each pointing a gun at someone's head. The camera pans away, there's a gunshot, and the film ends.
  • Book Ends: The first "non-archive footage" image is Sa´d opening his eyes to the sound of a gunshot. The last image is Sa´d closing his eyes to the sound of a gunshot.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Vinz is prone to flights of fantasy.
  • Corrupt Cop: Most of the Police presented in the film.
  • Crapsack World: The Yvelines (suburbs to the west of Paris) are depicted as this.
  • Creator Cameo: Director Mathieu Kassovitz briefly appears as the skinhead that Vinz intends to shoot.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Originally filmed in color, changed in post-production by Kassovitz himself.
  • Downer Ending: A case of I Just Shot Marvin in the Face leads to a Mexican Standoff leads to a Bolivian Army Ending. Assumed body count: 3.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Vinz does this on the skinhead.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The movie takes place over the course of less than one day.
  • Facecam: Camera mounted on a car that drives Vinz around.
  • He's Got a Weapon!: Vinz makes quite an impression with the gun he found.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: What kills Vinz at the end of the film.
  • Imagine Spot: Vinz has several, seeing cows on the street. Another one involves a police officer being Blown Across the Room.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Example 2 in the United States. It was promoted as Jodie Foster Presents Hate (the actress' praise of the film was responsible for Gramercy picking up the domestic rights).
  • It Was Here, I Swear: Vinz, after one of his Imagine Spots, trying to convince Sa´d that there was a cow crossing the street.
  • Mexican Standoff: The last scene where Hubert and the other gang member are pointing guns at each other. It doesn't end well.
  • The Nineties
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: The recurring motif of the man who falls from the top of a four storey building. As he falls, he repeats, "Jusqu'ici, tout va bien" ("So far, so good", or "Up to here, all goes well").
  • Police Brutality: A particularly brutal vicious circle relationship between the Paris police and a group of teenage thugs from the local banlieues. The police raid the deprived banlieues, the people who live there fight back, which means the police crack down harder on the area, which means the people start rioting...It eventually culminates in the police shooting an unarmed teenage boy, and one officer and the boy's best friend holding guns to each other's heads. And then the screen goes to black and a single gunshot is heard. End of film.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Vinz thinks so, at first.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The three pals can't make any sense of the old man's story about what happened to him on the way to Siberia.
  • Silent Credits: The impact of the last scene is enhanced by having the end credits roll without a sound.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Sitting and barbecuing.
  • Untranslated Title
  • Vertigo Effect: In a scene half-way through the movie (see image on top of this page), the three boys stand on a bridge or rooftop and the street behind them goes through the Vertigo Effect.
  • What Happened to the Mouse??: Where did that Cow come from? Where did she go?
    • Arguably Rule of Symbolism: The police used to be referred to as 'les vaches' (cows) in France. So it's foreshadowing and a possible hallucination by Vinz - there are a number of unexplained instances of this, e.g. when he 'shoots' the police officer in the train station.
  • Wire Dilemma: After breaking into a car, the three have no idea how to short-circuit the starter. Cue the Police.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: The movie follows three kids from the wrong side.
  • You Talkin' to Me?: Reenacted by Vinz.