Blu-ray Release: La Haine

Blu-ray: May 8, 2012
Price: Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

La haine movie scene

Vincent Cassel aims to be heard in La haine.

Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz (The Crimson Rivers), the 1995 French drama La Haine (Hate) is a gritty and unsettling film that looks at racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically the low-income outskirts of Paris.

Aimlessly passing their days in the concrete environs of their dead-end suburbia, Vinz (Vincent Cassel, Mesrine: Public Enemy #1), Hubert (Hubert Koundé, The Constant Gardener) and Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui, Three Kings) — white, black and Arab — give human faces to France’s immigrant and otherwise marginalized populations, their resentment at their situation simmering until it reaches a boiling point.

Shot in silvery black-and-white, the hard-hitting La Haine is tough stuff that reflects its country of origin’s ongoing identity crisis.

A work of tough beauty, the movie is a landmark of contemporary French cinema and a gripping reflection of its country’s ongoing identity crisis.

A popular film on the festival circuit that won filmmaker Kassovitz a Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995, La Haine was issued on DVD by Criterion in 2007.

The Blu-ray edition features a restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director Mathieu Kassovitz, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. It also has includes the following bonus features, most of which were ported over from the DVD:

  • English-language audio commentary by Kassovitz
  • introduction by actor Jodie Foster
  • Ten Years of “La Haine,” an 80-minute documentary that brings together cast and crew a decade after the film’s landmark release
  • featurette on the film’s banlieue setting, including interviews with sociologists Sophie Body-Gendrot, Jeffrey Fagan, and William Kornblum
  • production footage
  • deleted and extended scenes, each featuring an afterword by Kassovitz
  • gallery of behind-the-scenes photos
  • trailers
  • booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau and a 2006 appreciation by acclaimed filmmaker Costa-Gavras


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.