Postmodern social fables
in Mathieu Kassovitz
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In Assassins, the violence, its affects and consequences are played out from the start and in far more explicit and controversial fashion. Consequently, whereas Kassovitz's previous two features attempted essentially to engage with their popular audience at the same time as entertaining them, Assassins's polemical approach aims to confront, enrage and disgust its spectator into responding to the social issues of violence and youth alienation played out on screen. With its relatively large budget, high-profile release at the Cannes festival and casting of Serrault in the starring role, Assassins appeared to signal Kassovitz's arrival in mainstream French cinema following the cross-over success of La Haine. In Assassins, the spatially coded generational conflict within the mise en scène threatens to explode into violence in the Mexican stand-offthat takes place between Mehdi and Wagner following the death of Max.

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