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La Haine November 2, 2005

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

This film looks as appropriate today as it did when it was released ten years ago. Even M. Chirac commented on how it captured the scene perfectly. There’s something shit in the way Paris is designed. This shitness wasn’t intentional, no doubt, but the design of the (more or less) prosperous 20 arrondissements being surrounded by the (more or less) shit banlieues was always going to be a recipe for trouble. (Yes, I know there are chic suburbs too.) Certain bits of downtown Paris were pretty much to be steered clear of – Les Halles, mostly – when I lived there. It was the place where the boys from the shit suburbs would hang out en masse having zoomed in on the RER. The mutual contempt between them, the sons (or grandsons) of immigrants and the posher Parigots, was (and I’m sure still is) palpable. London seems to have done somewhat better because of the chaotic way the city expanded and shaped itself. Shit areas are next to posh ones. There are no major ghettoes and folk rub along pretty well, at least in comparison to Paris. (Birmingham may be another matter, of course.) In my youthful days, when I lived in Paris, I often thought the city might erupt or explode (or some other inflammatory verb) in riots, or rather, worse lawlessness than was already the case there. The current riots have now moved, it seems, from Clichy-sous-Bois to Aulnay-sous-Bois and St. Denis, so others have decided to air their grievances too with actions that surely have little to do with the original rioting linked to the death of two teenagers, which the police, incidentally, claim no connection with. Hard to see what Paris can do for itself other than contain things. But I can’t imagine days when the arrondissement and banlieue Parisians will be skipping hand in hand through the Tuileries any time soon.



1. lukeski - November 3, 2005

La Haine was my thought immediately as well. Altohugh I’m sure the film is far more politically correct and engaging than a real riot in a banlieu. Or maybe not…

2. BiB - October 15, 2006

My Parisian pals think this was all blown out of proportion, especially in the foreign press.

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