`So Far So Good...': La Haine and the Poetics of the Everyday

Theory, Culture and Society 17 (3):103-116 (2000)
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Representations of urban youth and its cultures of display have become an increasing focus of attention for contemporary cinema. The film La Haine received critical acclaim for its raw depiction of `ghetto life' for alienated `minority' youth in France. In this article, we use this text as a way of exploring the cultural politics of such filmic practices. La Haine's aesthetic strategies of an affective `hyper-realism' and postmodern authenticity are scrutinized for their racialized politics of representation. The discussion focuses on the film's reflexive presentation of racialized youth and their musical cultures. We argue that while the film lucidly captures the intensity of an urban existence, its aesthetic strategies and self-reflexivity belie a deeper unacknowledged ethico-political relation to racialized Otherness.



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