How La Haine lit a fire under French society


film culture politics

The outraged reaction to the film showed it had hit home. It won best director at Cannes in 1995, but the police believing it to be a polemic against them turned their backs on the team when providing a ceremonial guard at the festival. In the context of the Noisy-le-Grand riots and that summer’s strikes against prime minister Alain Jupp’s austerity measures, its anti-authoritarian swagger was a red rag. Kassovitz was accused of playing up a bad boy image, smoking dope during one TV appearance. He in turn complained about a media unable to connect with the deeper issues. He recalls making journalists from a celebrity magazine cry when he rounded on them for publishing a special booklet on how to speak in banlieue slang. The media made us stars and didn’t take care of the subject of the film, he says now. They asked me questions where I said: Don’t ask me that, go to the projects and talk to the guys there.’ But they didn’t want to talk to them.

How La Haine lit a fire under French society, Phil Hoad in The Guardian