Hate... France.

La Haine, redux.

I have just come across the latest video of French electro band
Justice on Jerome's blog, another French writer based in the UK. The soundtrack called Stress is illustrated by some hyper realistic video images of French gangs rampaging the capital during their raids.

At a certain point of time it even becomes very hard to make up your mind on whether those images are fictive or a reportage, but in any case that is an insightful view at another side of Paris and some other French cities. Less glamorous than a couple of tweety birds smiling in front of Le Louvres...

Chilling fall.

La HaineBack in 1995, young director Mathieu Kassovitz came up on the cinema screens with a black and white film about the real face of Les Banlieues. La Haine, hate, was depicting the determinism of three friends in the Parisian suburbs who are trying to cope with their life. No job, no money, no consideration... and ultimately, whatever you may try, they end up being caught back by the dramatic reality.

Funny sometimes, dramatic, brutal, this film was an eye-opener, a smashing hit and consequently a must-see. It starts with a slow motion image of a Molotov cocktail sent on a billboard featuring a picture of planet earth. The voice over says:

This is the story of a man who falls from the 25th story of a building. As he is falling, he repeats for himself, as if to reassure himself: "so far so good, so far so good, so far...". But what really matters is not the fall. It's the landing.

I think that what we can perceive through Justice's video is that we are closer to the ground than ever. Sadly.


  1. Jr - french in london12:59 am

    Choquant, oppressant, gratuit, purement violent, insoutenable... dur de trouver les mots pour ce clip.

    J'ignore s'il passe en télé mais suis-je over-réac de penser qu'un truc comme ça ne devrait pas être diffusé??

    cette espèce d'apologie de la violence, loin de La Haine ou d'Orange Mécanique, ce clip me fait gerber. Filmé à la manière d'un docu, il ne peut que créer le malaise mais on peut tolérer une telle violence.

    au début, je pensais en souriant à "quand on arrive en ville" de Starmania mais entretenir le culte des petits caïds ultra-violents laisse un goût plus qu'amer. Parce que cela existe, tout simplement.

    De plus, je connais une partie des lieux où ont été tournées ces images (St quentin en yvelines) et ce spectacle me fait vomir.

    A jouer la provoc, on attise parfois les tensions et la surenchère. l'exemple du "happy slapping" dans les écoles en est la preuve...

    je suis en fait, tout simplement, consterné.

  2. Thanks JR for dropping by. Just a quick and dirty translation for non-French readers:
    "Chocking, disturbing, random, pointlessly violent, unbearable... Hard to find the right words to describe this video.

    I don't know whether it is aired on TV, but am I over-conservator to think that this should not be aired??

    This pseudo apology of violence, far from La Haine or Clockwork Orange, makes me feel sick.

    At the beginning I was looking at it smiling and thinking of "Quand on arrive en ville" from Starmania (note: this is a French musical from the 80s where a gang is "going in downtown to scare the crowds"), but I ultimately felt bitter that one could create a cult around those youngsters and pseudo caids. Bitter because it exists, that is the problem.

    On top of that, I know very well the location where it has been shot (St Quentin en Yvelines), and this makes me fell sick.

    By being provocative you can also encourage tensions and escalation. Look at the "happy slapping" phenomenon in schools...

    I am utterly offuscated."