Sound of the police

I just discovered that you can watch the entirety of La Haine (1995) on You Tube (so no need to spend a fortune on the Criterion Collection edition). So even though I’ve seen it a number of times, I feel compelled to watch it again. It is one of my favorite films of all time and one that embodies so many topics that fascinate me, as it is ultimately a film about exclusion from mainstream society and how this is reinforced in structural ways such as urban planning and police brutality. And of course, there’s no shortage of vulgar French slang and “Verlan,” a style of speaking that more or less inverses words: “femme” becomes “meuf,” “bizarre” becomes “zarbi,” “arabe” becomes “beur.” Verlan is completely unique to the Parisian region and though it started among immigrants and other marginalized populations of the banlieues, it has spread throughout the city and elsewhere, much to the chagrin of the Académie Française’s arbiters of the French language.

I love this scene, which begins with shots of people hanging out in the housing projects’ playground. The DJ Cut Killer points his speakers out the window and plays a mixture of Edith Piaf’s “Non, Je ne Regrette Rien” with NTM’s “Nique la Police” (Fuck the Police). How’s that for pastiche? (That is our completely gratuitous highbrow academic word of the day.)