Preview: La Haine with Asian Dub Foundation at the Howard Assembly Room
La Haine is a ticking ticking timebomb of a film set in the Parisian ghettos following the movements of three young men in the aftermath of violent rioting. The trio – Jewish comic Vinz, black boxer Hubert and fiery Arab Said – go about the city fuelled by drugs. They are caught up in the great divide between the haves and have-nots in the fragile city. Paris is described in gritty black and white which gives a stark realism to the events. This is heightened by the actors’ improvisation and spontaneity and the black humour sweetens the bitter pill of these outsiders’ alienation and hatred.
Director Mathieu Kassovitz’s film is a direct attack against the neo-Nazi regime but not over-simplified: there are good cops and bad cops here. It more highlights the sense of ennui and boredom caused by the lack of opportunities in such dilapidated regions of the city. Architecturally it is a constant concrete jungle as a backdrop and whilst this may be a sociological study it is vitally powerful, fast-paced and dynamic. There are sideways nods to Hollywood gangster flicks like when Vinz poses in the mirror, posturing: ‘You talking to me?!’
It should be particularly interesting to hear Asian Dub Foundation’s original soundtrack performed live with the film, as a group that have grasped social issues so insightfully throughout their career. Their edginess and raucous frenetic energy will supplement the viewing for an English audience – this promises to be as tense and intense as the atmosphere of Paris in such troubled times.
La Haine with live musical accompaniment by Asian Dub Foundation plays at Howard Assembly Room, Leeds, 12th February 2016.