La Haine (1995): “..but it also confronted me with culture clashes..”

La Haine

“Whenever people ask me which film I like most it is often La Haine (1995) that comes up in my mind. I first saw the film about 20 years ago when I was 13 or 14. I grew up in Groningen, the Netherlands in a neighborhood that wasn’t that rich, but it varied from low-income families up till some middle-class families. It was a very multicultural neighborhood. La Haine is about three young guys who live in an impoverished neighborhood of Paris. Vinz who is Jewish, Hubert who is of African descent and Saïd who is of Middle Eastern descent. During the film, you basically experience the aftermath of a violent riot and how they young guys deal with the current situation. I remember that Vinz wanted to kill a police officer. I am not saying that I lived in such a violent neighborhood at all. It is more about how I recognize how they live in a neighborhood and society with so many different people and cultures. For instance, my father is from Pakistan and my mother is from Suriname. When I went to high school in Groningen I made a lot of white friends which is cool and not a problem at all, but it also confronted me with culture clashes and things like that. That’s what I could see in the film La Haine as well. We are all so different, but eventually, we all share the same streets with each other and people were all making the best of their streets and neighborhood. Besides that, the film is filmed in black and white its so beautiful. I think if it was in color it would have been a totally different experience and it might not have had the impact on me that it has made in my life.”

Photo and story by Feargal Agard.