La Haine (1995)

La Haine ("Hate") is one of the best films of the 90s. Written and directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, this black and white film is a powerful comment on social problems and violence. The story takes place in a Paris suburb, not the Paris of travel brochures, but a desolate urban landscape, harsh and grim. It's a place where the main characters, three friends from different ethnic background, are economically, socially and politically marginalised. The streets are their home and they are open targets for the brutal and racist police, whom they see as oppressors.

The performances from the three main actors are brilliant. Kassovitz's script and direction is awesome. The soundtrack which starts with Bob Marley's "Burning and Looting" and continues with great French hip-hop is also excellent. Finally, the last scene of the film will totally blow you away!

La Haine does not offer any solutions to social problems but it clearly shows the anger and frustration of people who feel trapped by their circumstances. Though it is a wake-up call for action on society's growing gap between rich and poor, the film makes a powerful statement that violence does not solve anything and that hate feeds hate.

Three weeks after the film was released, riots broke out in the Brixton section of London, following the death of a young black man in police custody. Also, the riots in Paris a few years ago and in Greece last December make the message of the film even more powerful!

One of the best films ever made!

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