Ethnicity and identity in Mathieu Kassovitz’s Métisse and La Haine
in Reframing difference
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Critics and historians of French cinema have marked out 1995 as the year of the banlieue film, the most significant of which was La Haine, directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. This chapter aims to compare and contrast the representation of ethnicity in La Haine with the representation of ethnicity in Kassovitz's first feature film, Métisse, made in 1993. One of the links between the two films, however, is the privileged role of the white youth. La Haine takes as its topic the cycle of hatred and violence which tends to characterise relationships between young people and the police in the working-class suburbs of France. Métisse is an allegory about the possibility of racial tolerance and integration, which depends not simply on the assimilation of the ethnic other, but on the overthrow of conventional attitudes to love, parenting, and race. The chapter offers a challenge to dominant notions of French national identity.

Reframing difference

Beur and banlieue filmmaking in France

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