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Sordid Cinema Podcast #551: Why ‘La Haine’ is as Explosive and Relevant 25 Years On

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La Haine Podcast Review 25 Years On

La Haine Podcast Review

Twenty-five years ago, Mathieu Kassovitz’s French black-and-white drama crime drama La Haine sent shockwaves through the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, where it received a standing ovation and the Best Director prize.

A story of social unrest, La Haine was inspired by three isolated incidents involving the killing of unarmed young people by police officers (including the famous case involving the death of 17-year-old Congolese Makomé M’Bowolé) that led to three weeks of riots in Paris and surrounding areas.

Starring Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui and Vincent Cassel (in his breakout performance), La Haine is set over 19 consecutive hours in the lives of three young men living in the impoverished, multi-ethnic public housing complexes known as Chanteloup-les-Vignes. We follow the three of them in the aftermath of a riot in a banlieue that left their teenage friend Abdel comatose in a hospital after being brutally beaten by the police. When Vinz recovers a gun lost by a cop during the riot, he feels empowered, and decides to take revenge.

Twenty years on, La Haine feels more relevant than ever. It’s arguably the best film made about systemic racism and police brutality— easily the best film released in 2015— and one of the most powerful pieces of urban cinema ever made. Today on the Sordid Cinema Podcast we reflect on the film’s lasting significance and why it holds a special place in our hearts. Joining the show is former co-host Simon Howell and one of the programmers of the Hot Docs Film Festival, Julian Carrington.

Editor’s Note: You can find all the information about Simon’s secret quarantine home cinema program here.

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Launched in 2007, Sordid Cinema is one of the longest-running film podcasts. Following a long absence (let’s call it an extended break), Ricky D is back on the Sordid Cinema beat, accompanied by his new co-host, Patrick Murphy. The Sordid Cinema Podcast makes its return, with a new format that sees hosts Ricky D and Patrick Murphy discussing some of our favorite genre films over the years that may have flown under the radar for some audiences. This new version of the long-running show will focus more on discussion and less, on reviews, as we hope to examine the selections from a multitude of angles and break down what makes these films so special. Brought to you by the former editors of Sound on Sight, Sordid Cinema is Goomba Stomp’s Film and TV section and a leading source of movie reviews, and discussion from the world of international, independent, cult and genre cinema. We cover film festivals around the world including Cannes, TIFF, Fantasia, NYFF, Tribeca, Fantastic Fest, SXSW, FNC, Venice, Berlin, and more.

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