CERT: 15 | PLATFORM: BLU-RAY| RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 23RD
Writer/director Mathieu Kassovitz’s second feature La Haine gripped audiences and critics alike when first released in 1995. 25 years on, it’s more impactful and relevant than ever. The perfect time, then, for another look at it, as the BFI’s new restoration reaches Blu-ray.
After the police shooting of young immigrant Abdel leads to riots erupting across Paris, three of Adbel’s friends wait to find out whether he will emerge from his coma. The film follows them across 20 hours as they kill time, full of anger but powerless to do anything.
La Haine has a real edge, a sense of growing anxiety, set on the fringes of society and on the fringes of major events. It’s perhaps remembered as a brutal, grim film, but it’s not all monotone depression; there’s a sense of humour undercutting everything, and we enjoy spending time with these characters.
Which, of course, makes the anxiety and the brutality, when it comes, all the more hard-hitting. As summed up in its memorable quote, La Haine is “about a society that’s falling – so far so good, so far so good.” This persistent sense that everything could fall apart at any moment feels very 2020, as does, in light of Black Lives Matter, the film’s anger at police violence towards ethnic minorities.
The restoration work is impressive; if you didn’t catch the 4K screenings in cinemas, this Blu-ray version is the next best option. Plus, the 2-disc box is packed with extras. Highlights include an in-depth introduction from Riz Ahmed and a new interview with Kassowitz. There’s also an 80-page book of essays and interviews.