Anyone reading this blog probably knows that I have been going through the AFI 100 years, 100 movies list, and that those postings have moved to Scene Stealers. Well I just watched "Do the Right Thing" (1989) and I wanted to watch something off the list that I could write about over here. I remembered my friend Kevin was talking about this French movie that took its inspiration from Spike Lee's most renowned joint.
The film is "La Haine" or "Hate" for you Francophobes, and it follows three youth, Vinz, Hubert and Said, the day after their friend, Abdel, was shot in nearby riots. The entire film takes place over the course of one day and looks at the tensions between the police and the various ethnic groups that make up the Parisian ghetto.
The entire film works as a parable. We have three characters, each with their own drives and responses to what has happened, and they are offered to the viewer as the three paths to choose from. We then watch as Hubert, Vinz, and Said all move within their world each representing a different philosophy. There are parables within the story as well. One of my favorites comes when our three main characters are hiding from the cops in a restroom. Be warned. The language is salty.
Now I realize that from this one scene this film could appear to be a light hearted comedy of errors. I assure you this is not the case. It is intense and masterfully constructed. Even the digressions are well placed, meaningful and beautifully crafted. Here are two trailers for another small taste.
The film's pacing is a free fall and the entire time you are just waiting for the characters to slam headlong into the approaching ground. In spite of that tension, the movie is exceedingly enjoyable and the characters are easy to sympathize with.
Give it a try, but just in case you need it when you're done with "La Haine" here is a picture of Mo. Feel free to print it out and take it for a walk.