On April 6, 1993, Makome M’Bowole, a youth of Central African descent, was shot in the head at point blank range while handcuffed to a radiator in a Paris police station. The police called it an “accident.” There had been hundreds of these so-called accidents since the 1980s around Paris and its low-income suburbs – known as banlieue districts. Needless to say, these senseless deaths at the hands of bonehead cops repeatedly led to rioting and birthed an unbearable tension between immigrant youths and the police.
This volatile banlieue society is captured in Mathieu Kassovitz‘s landmark 1995 film, La Haine. An eruptive and stylistically beautiful film, La Haine looks at one day in the life of three kids from immigrant families living in a working-class banlieue housing project outside of Paris. Vinz the Jew (Vincent Cassel), SaÃ¯d the Arab (SaÃ¯d Taghmaoui), and Hubert the African (Hubert Koundé) are all recovering after a night of heavy rioting. During the previous night’s chaos, a friend of the boys, Abdel, was shot by a cop and is in critical condition in Paris. One other possibly explosive thing happened the night before: a cop lost his gun. And Vinz found it.