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La haine

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • La Haine, a seminal film in urban cinema, gets a Criterion release with stellar features. Essential viewing.

    La haine Blu-ray Front Cover

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  • Video
  • La Haine's Blu-ray, supervised by Kassovitz, offers a raw, gritty 1080p transfer with stable colors and intentional softness, maintaining the film's stark, documentary style. Score: 4.25/5.

  • Audio
  • The Blu-ray features a French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track with clear, crisp dialogue and a remastered, dynamic soundstage that enhances film moments without overly aggressive effects, complemented by optional English subtitles.

  • Extra
  • Detailed Blu-ray edition of La Haine features insightful extras including Jodie Foster's introduction, sociological discussions, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes in color with director's afterword, and a documentary on the film's impact, all aiming to deepen understanding and appreciation.

  • Movie
  • 'La Haine,' a profound critique of French society's underbelly, pairs raw, stark realism with technical finesse in its Criterion Blu-ray edition.

    Video: 73

    The Blu-ray presentation of La Haine, directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, is offered in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with an MPEG-4 AVC 1080p transfer, showcasing the film's intentionally stark and gritty aesthetic. This Criterion release seems to utilize the same high-definition master as the Studio Canal 2008 Blu-ray, maintaining consistent detail, clarity, contrast, and color grading, with notable advancements in compression quality. The image detail is significantly enhanced from Criterion’s DVD release, particularly visible in the film's nocturnal scenes. Despite slight fluctuations in clarity and intentional softness—especially evident in the documentary-style opening sequences—the presentation remains faithful to the film's raw, unembellished visual narrative. With stable colors and deep, though not overly saturated, blacks, this release underscores the bleak reality depicted in the film.

    The supervision of Mathieu Kassovitz over the transfer process ensures an authentic reproduction of Pierre Aïm's stylized cinematography, preserving a fine layer of grain that adds to the film's documentary feel. The black-and-white imagery benefits from high contrast and vibrant whites, enhancing the film's crispness and depth without compromising on the intended visual rawness. Even with occasional softness due to cinematic choices, the overall definition is remarkable, with lifelike close-ups and a clear delineation of background information. This Blu-ray release captures the essence of La Haine’s visual narrative, presenting it in a manner that is not only a substantial improvement over previous home video formats but also a testament to the potency of its cinematographic artistry.

    This release not only pleases fans with its superior quality and technical execution but also promises an immersive viewing experience of this powerful drama by preserving its visual integrity. With rich black levels providing depth and a contrast that highlights its expressive grayscale, the Blu-ray edition of La Haine represents a definitive version for collectors and aficionados alike. Although there’s potential for future enhancement, particularly in minimizing light sharpening effects, this edition stands as a compelling representation of the film's raw and evocative atmosphere.

    Audio: 73

    The French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track showcased on the "La haine" Blu-ray is a meticulously remastered audio experience that engages viewers with a fine balance of clarity, depth, and subtlety. Drawing from the original audio-mix tracks just prior to the final master mix, this soundtrack demonstrates a commendable depth of field in its soundstage presentation. The dialogue is exceptionally clear and intelligible, anchored firmly in the center, ensuring that every word is delivered with precision and without any sync issues or dropouts. The audio mix doesn't necessarily strive for aggressive dynamics or overwhelming surround effects but rather focuses on enhancing the viewing experience with its fidelity and nuanced detailing, particularly noticeable in scenes filled with tension or dynamic cityscapes.

    The technical treatment of the soundtrack adds a layer of authenticity and immersion, especially notable in sequences punctuated by police raids and skirmishes with skinheads. The mid-range is expansive, creating an enveloping ambience that pulls the viewer into the narrative's most intense moments with clarity and a significant degree of room penetration. Low-frequency effects provide a grounded, potent bass that lends weight to the film's few but impactful action sequences. Moreover, the hip-hop tracks integral to the film's identity are rendered with exceptional depth, showcasing cleanly separated highs and mids that enhance the overall atmospheric quality of the movie.

    Ambient sounds and directionality receive particular attention, with the rears delivering a convincingly immersive experience. City noises and specific aural cues like airplanes flying overhead are handled with care, ensuring they contribute effectively to the film's setting without overpowering the central audio elements. This DTS-HD Master Audio track successfully marries warmth, fidelity, and an engaging auditory environment, making it an outstanding example of how audio can complement and elevate the cinematic experience.

    Extra: 75

    The Blu-ray extras for "La Haine" offer a comprehensive and enriching experience that extends the impact and understanding of the film well beyond its runtime. The highlight is undoubtedly the introduction by Jodie Foster, whose admiration for the film sets a passionate tone for the viewer's experience. Critical insights are provided in the exhaustive documentary "Ten Years of La Haine," tracing the film's journey from inspiration to critical acclaim, including candid reflections from the cast and crew. "Social Dynamite" offers an educational look at the societal context of the banlieues, drawing parallels to international urban struggles, while "The Making of a Scene" and pre-shoot preparations with the lead actors provide an intimate glance at the film’s groundwork. Mathieu Kassovitz's insightful commentary throughout, particularly regarding deleted and extended scenes, adds a layer of depth to the viewing experience. The extra materials, mirroring the original Criterion DVD extras, meld together to form a vital companion to understanding this seminal work.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Introduction: A passionate introduction by Jodie Foster, highlighting her admiration for "La Haine".
    • Ten Years of La Haine: A comprehensive documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew about the film's inception and success.
    • Social Dynamite: Experts discuss the banlieues and provide insights into the film's social commentary.
    • Preparing for the Shoot: A behind-the-scenes look at pre-filming preparations with the lead actors.
    • The Making of a Scene: An in-depth look at the shooting of a key fantasy sequence.
    • Deleted and Extended Scenes: A collection of scenes removed from the final cut, each followed by an explanatory afterword from Kassovitz.
    • Stills Gallery: A compilation of production stills from the film.
    • Trailers: Original French theatrical trailers with optional English subtitles.
    • Audio Commentary: Director Mathieu Kassovitz shares his thoughts on the making of "La Haine" and its enduring relevance.
    • Booklet: Features an essay by Ginette Vincendeau and an appreciation by Costa-Gavras.

    Movie: 80

    Mathieu Kassovitz’s "La Haine" (Hate, 1995), presented by Criterion on Blu-ray, embarks on a compelling journey into the chaotic aftermath of a riot in the outskirts of Paris, bringing to light the visceral experiences of three young men from different cultural backgrounds. The film, captured in evocative black and white by cinematographer Pierre Aïm, immerses viewers into the banlieues' stark reality, contrasting sharply with the romanticized image of Paris. Kassovitz’s narrative delves into themes of racial discrimination, poverty, and the suffocating despair of youth marginalized by society, echoing the raw intensity found in works by directors like Spike Lee and John Singleton. The dialogue is sharp, imbued with a sense of anger and frustration, masterfully escalating towards a conclusion that leaves a lasting impact on the audience.

    Central to the story are Vinz (Vincent Cassel), Hubert (Hubert Koundé), and Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui), whose dynamic and nuanced performances bring depth to their characters’ complex internal struggles. Vinz's discovery of a lost police handgun incites a critical reflection on power, revenge, and the cyclical nature of violence that resonates profoundly within the socio-political context of France during the '90s. Kassovitz does not shy away from exploring the bleak realities faced by these young men, instead presenting their day-to-day lives with an authenticity that ranges from mundane to harrowing, all while maintaining a narrative tension that culminates in an unforgettable climax.

    "La Haine" is a milestone in French cinema, its critical acclaim evidenced by multiple awards and its influence undeniable in the wave of banlieue films it inspired. The Criterion Blu-ray release enriches this experience with an array of supplemental materials including a thoughtful essay by Ginette Vincendeau and insights from filmmaker Costa-Gavras, providing viewers with a comprehensive look at the film's significance and impact. As we navigate through Kassovitz’s gritty portrayal of disillusioned youth, "La Haine" remains a poignant reminder of cinema’s power to provoke discussion and reflection on the systemic issues that persist in contemporary society.

    Total: 78

    Mathieu Kassovitz's "La Haine" stands as a seminal piece in cinematic portrayal of urban angst and societal fractures, holding its ground amidst monumental works like Lee's "Do the Right Thing" and Singleton's "Boyz n the Hood". This film not only echoed through the corridors of French cinema but also reverberated across Europe, inspiring a myriad of ethnic directors. The North American premiere of the film via the Criterion Collection underscores its pivotal role in contemporary cinema with a release that boasts superior picture and audio quality, bringing the stark realities of the narrative to life with an unprecedented clarity. This Blu-ray edition encapsulates the essence of the film with finesse, presenting it in a way that both preserves and enhances its original vitality.

    The Criterion Collection's release of "La Haine" is lauded for its comprehensive assembly of supplemental features, which bridge the gap between the film's inception and its enduring legacy. These features, alongside the film's masterful transfer to Blu-ray format, provide a rich, immersive viewing experience that not only respects but elevates the source material. The inclusion of the original supplemental features from the 2007 DVD release ensures long-time fans and new viewers alike have access to a treasure trove of insights into the film's production, themes, and impact. The audio-visual quality of this release ensures that the visceral impact of the film's portrayal of street violence and urban youth disenchantment is felt with every frame.

    In conclusion, the Criterion Collection’s Blu-ray release of "La Haine" is nothing short of essential for cinephiles and scholars alike. Its pristine presentation coupled with a hefty compendium of supplemental materials makes it a definitive edition that not only celebrates but also cements the film’s status in the annals of cinematic history. This release is highly recommended, serving not just as a tribute to Matthieu Kassovitz's groundbreaking work, but also as a critical tool for understanding the dynamics of urban cinema and the social issues it reflects.