Taking place at BFI Southbank from 1 September to 6 October 2020, REDEFINING REBELLION is a month-long season programmed by film journalist and critic Kaleem Aftab, which draws its inspiration from Mathieu Kassovitz’ trailblazing crime drama, La Haine (1995).
Re-released in a 4K restoration in selected cinemas by the BFI on 11 September, La Haine may be 25 years old, but its themes of social and economic divide and discontent, make it just as distinctive now as it was then.
Reflecting on filmic rebellion and celebrating onscreen agitators, with this pivotal film as the lynchpin, REDEFINING REBELLION will feature special events on BFI YouTube including an in conversation event with director Matthieu Kassovitz and a BFI Screen Epiphany with Riz Ahmed, who cites La Haine as one of his favourite films, and one which continues to influence him.
Kaleem Aftab, REDEFINING REBELLION programmer, said:
“It’s a great honour to be asked to programme the lead season for the reopening of the BFI Southbank centred around the 25th anniversary 4K re-release of La Haine, one of the all-time great films. Redefining Rebellion is a look at how filmmakers have challenged orthodox thinking and the idea of the hero. I see the season as a challenge to the British Film Industry to make long overdue structural changes that will result in presenting more interesting protagonists. But most of all, I want audiences to have the best time, in the cinema, the Mecca for great movies.”
Alongside the extended run of La Haine, REDEFINING REBELLION will feature work that inspired director Matthieu Kassovitz, such as the original cinematic portrayal of rebellion in Europe, Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925), the work of Paul Schrader, including Blue Collar (Paul Schrader, 1978) and Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976) – the latter of which he scripted, and American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973), a film which Kassovitz urged his sound designer to watch before making La Haine.
The season will examine narratives detailing heroic women seeking their own agency and independence, such as: Norma Rae (Martin Ritt, 1979) starring Sally Field; Girlhood (Celine Sciamma, 2014); and Persepolis (Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi, 2007), adapted from Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel.
There will also be screenings of 90s films that share the outsider spirit of La Haine in their stories of race and sexuality such as: Young Soul Rebels (Isaac Julien, 1991) and Claire Denis’ Beau Travail (1999), which will screen in a new 4K print.
The season will also look at the influence of graffiti and Hip-hop culture on La Haine with screenings of Boom For Real: The Early Years of Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (Sara Driver, 2017) which captures the unique feel of late 70s New York and the seeds of a new artistic culture, which would infuse La Haine with subtext.
Completing the season will be contemporary films that draw parallels with La Haine, such as: Jacques Audiard’s Palme d’Or winning Dheepan (2015); and Swedish family film Amateurs (Gabriela Pichler, 2018).
Also released in cinemas in September is 2019 Cannes Jury Prize-winner, Les Misérables, directed by Ladj Ly, and made with the same panache, verve and transfixing perspective as La Haine; a similarly exciting film, about police trying to maintain order among local gangs in the impoverished suburbs of Paris, it will also screen at BFI Southbank in September.
Tickets for screenings in Redefining Rebellion will go on sale to BFI Patrons and BFI Champions on 19 August, BFI Members on 20 August and to the general public on 24 August.