La Haine (1995)

Far from the tour de force treatments of similar subject matter often aspire to, La Haine is no less a poetic coup de maitre of filmmaking. Inspired by the mid 80s Paris demonstrations, footage of which is used to open the film, it required a little creative license of Kassovitz to fuel a meandering raison d’etre. Its ending allegedly borrowed from events occurring nearly a decade later after the protests in opening montage. Yet without making too much of disenfranchisement, relegating it instead to a motif rather than its core, la Haine allows other thematic hues to float in and out. It’s a ‘day in the life of’ affair, handled very much like Clerks and Do the Right Thing except the principal trio drift in and out of trouble as opposed to having drifters loiter around them. Unlike both aforementioned films, La Haine is not a prisoner of its locale—the trio spend a large portion of their day outside their element and the comical results are therefore amplified however much the film intends to stay serious. How serious? Police brutality, to keep things simple as possible. Continue reading “La Haine (1995)”

Olivia Bonamy Ils

Ils (Them)

Ils is the 2006 French horror film starring Olivia Bonamy & Michaël Cohen. Written and directed by David Moreau & Xavier Palud.

Given how “based on” films are often the telltale signifiers of the dearth of original material to glean a full feature from, Ils is far from the usual fare. One could argue Ils’ writers sought to possibly curb that notion by the relative fleetness of duration. An hour and thirteen minutes to be precise. That is an assumption, that the writers shifted their efforts from, for example, adherence to fact to making it work with less. That’s one thing. Secondly, and although it is essentially a home invasion horror, it keeps its cards very close to the chest for as long as possible, which for a lean run time comes with the risk of either front- or backloading its story. Opening with a tense eight-minute scene packing in stop-and-go, pull and tug action (action as in the antonym of speech), it flies fast. In one fell swoop a good chunk of time is knocked out and the film starts to pick up at the half-hour mark, more or less the halfway point of the film. That makes it a tale of two halves pacing wise; its front and back. It is a unique and subtle structure possibly indiscernible for viewers more used to the three-act flow. And it works. Effectively.

Continue reading “Ils (Them)”