With “La Haine”, Mathieu Kassovitz breathed new life into French cinema in 1995. To impose the impacting title and considered frightening of his drama, the director had to show pugnacity.
Hate : the original proposal by Mathieu Kassovitz
In 1995, Mathieu Kassovitz won at the Cannes Film Festival with Hate, his second feature film. Awarded the Best Director’s Prize, the film begins after a night of riots in a city of Chanteloup-les-Vignes, in Yvelines, which follows the coma of Abdel Ichaha, one of its inhabitants seriously injured by a police officer during police custody.
Shaken by events, Hubert, Saïd and Vinz meet again. Determined to avenge Abdel, Vinz very quickly reveals his discovery to his two friends: a Smith & Wesson 44 Magnum lost by a member of the police during the clashes. A day between their neighborhood and Paris follows, marked by debates around the need to make the authorities pay or on the contrary to appease the situation, as well as unexpected encounters and events about to change their lives.
Distilling a dull tension that only erupts in brief moments, which makes them unforgettable, Hate is a tale of friendship, boredom and wandering led by a formidable trio formed by Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui and Vincent Cassel. Always assuming its influences, like Taxi Driver, Journey to the end of hell Where Scarface, the drama has also become a reference thanks to its relevance and its unprecedented proposition in French cinema.
In addition to its three main actors, the feature film benefits from often fleeting but always memorable appearances by many actors. Vincent Lindon, François Levantal, Edouard Montoute, Karim Belkhadra, Solo from the Assassin group, Philippe Nahon and Mathieu Kassovitz himself complete the cast in particular.
A title deemed scary
The director’s impulse for the film is born after the Makomé M’Bowolé case, a 17-year-old young man who was shot in the head while in police custody in the 18e arrondissement of Paris in April 1993. The demonstrations and clashes with the CRS taking place in the capital in reaction to the teenager’s death and in which Mathieu Kassovitz took part inspired him to set off his drama.
During the writing, the filmmaker relies on that of Z by Costa-Gavras, another eminently political feature film. The subject is mentioned from the opening, with the famous story of the type that falls from a 50-story building. A parable based on a line of dialogue by Steve McQueen in The Seven Mercenaries.
To summarize the anger emanating from the film, represented in part by the character of Vinz and some police officers such as Inspector “Notre-Dame”, Mathieu Kassovitz plans to call him Hate. But this title frightens the producer Christophe Rossignon, who is afraid of be refused filming permissions by municipalities. The feature film is therefore renamed Copyright.
“A peaceful false title” according to production manager Gilles Sacuto. The director insists that the drama comes out with its original name, much more honest and much less condescending. What displeases the mayor of Chanteloup-les-Vignes, as Gilles Sacuto explains to Telerama for the twentieth anniversary of the project:
The mayor will protest once the final title is known. And he demanded not to reveal where the action takes place: on the set, we took care to hide the names of the streets.
But the secret did not last very long.