“Do you know the story about the guy who falls from a 50-storey building?” La Haine (1995)

To reassure himself, he repeats,
“So far, so good. So far, so good. So far, so good”.
But it’s not the fall that matters, it’s the landing.

Morality, Rage, and their jester. Three young men caught in an endlessly repeating cycle of pointless violence. Making their way through the aftermath of a vicious riot sparked by police brutality.

I have great affection for this film, but I won’t be bothering to write about the message within it. You can read about those aspects of La Haine anywhere else you care to. While I know the difference between right and wrong, what I know about politics can be written on the inside label of the blue skirt-suit I bought for that Thatcher parody-porn shoot. Why should I waste my time and yours making points I have no back up for?

What I’ll do instead is make a list of all the other reasons I love La Haine.

That ticking timeline. The close-up of Said’s face to the gunshot. The tracking past the police as he vandalizes the back of their van. That five second dream sequence. The single shot round Vinz’s room while he and Said talk. The appearance, or non-appearance, of random cows. The breakdancing in the new builds. Cassel doing Travis Bickle, while simultaneously tackling a couple of blackheads. Hotdogs on the rooftop. The Candid Camera episode recounting with no point. The DJ setting up his decks at an open window. The guy surrounded by boxes of stolen stereo equipment who watches a shitty television. The kids replicating the actions and dress of their elders. That zoom trick, that’s not really a trick, but I forget its name. The old man’s story of Grunwalski taking a shit on the frozen Steppes. The scared lad in the toilets, popping his head round the door, seeing it it’s safe to leave yet. The coke-addled Asterix, naked but for a shirt tied round his waist, ducking and diving with his nun-chucks. Russian roulette. The visit to the modern art gallery. The attempt at chatting up women. The drunk man with the runaway wife, jigging on top of a police car. Those references to Taxi Driver, but in addition the echoing of a scene in Mean Streets that I’m sure everyone else noticed too, unless it‘s just me. Yes. Switching off the Eiffel Tower. The fighting, and the laughter, that makes up the friendship of Vinz, Said and Hubert. The playful, yet protective, pushing around of their little sisters.
That haircut. That ending.

The shake of the head from the rookie policeman being shown “how it’s done”…
The actual riot footage, reminding you how real all of this was.
How real it still is in some places…


In fact, just go watch it if you haven’t. I’m assuming that you have though.

It’s the story of a society in freefall.
To reassure itself, it repeats endlessly…
“So far, so good. So far, so good. So far, so good”.

But it’s not the fall that matters.
It’s the landing.

~ by Mondo Ghosto on 03/12/2010.

2 Responses to ““Do you know the story about the guy who falls from a 50-storey building?” La Haine (1995)”

  1. What a bloody great film.

    It’s been too long…

    *drink drives to BB*

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