March 9, 1996 [La Haine]

The ocean is nearby, but that doesn't stop L.A. in summer from laying down a thick hot blanket of doomed haze, the wind straight desert, no chaser.  Perfect weather for world-wide tinder.

I thought of Rodney King, how everybody for some godforsaken reason wants their hometown to be L.A.--and they want it whether they want it or not.  That hot wind gets around, all the way to the blasted suburbs of Paris, where French mean streets meet futile attempts to do the right thing.  The young men's music and stance and boredom are pure Hood, chins high but hands empty--guns don't count, they fall to the ground sooner or later.

But should such misery look so good? Do these boyz deserve such a funny trip home--funny for a while, with something like friendship and love mixed in? Well, this is the thing that saves the movie: the chance to lean into the wind with these tough guys, while Scarface slogans--"The World Is Yours"--and Clockwork Orange desperation propel them almost all the way home.  There's no Oz, but it's still a road--more like Alice's looking glass, where "it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place."  Like the man says, so far, so good.


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  2. Apropos opening, and nice take on a film I love - hard-hitting but also (almost guiltily) quite exciting filmmaking. Not sure what it has to do with wholesale printers though. ;)

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