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In the film La Haine, what is the whole Grunwalski episode about?

When Vinz, Said and Hubert are in the toilets, this random old bloke comes out and starts talking to them about his mate Grunwalski... You'll know what I mean if you've seen the film! Surely it has something to do with the overall message of the film - I just have no idea what it is. I'm studying it for A level so might need to know for the exam. Any ideas?!
Thanks :cool:
Reply 1
I studied La Haine for A Level and I have no idea either :dontknow:
I thought it was just a humorous message to break tension in the film, but I'm sure someone will be able to explain how it's relevant.
I'm really not sure either. I was watching it yesterday, still can't come up with a theory. I suppose it shows that the boys aren't completely angry with everyone they meet though.

EDIT: And perhaps it shows that they still have respect for the oldest generation? They hate the police, they hate most adults, especially those that try and control them, but they are suprisingly respectful to this guy, and listen politely to his little spiel.
Reply 3
Deutsch_Beth
I'm really not sure either. I was watching it yesterday, still can't come up with a theory. I suppose it shows that the boys aren't completely angry with everyone they meet though.

EDIT: And perhaps it shows that they still have respect for the oldest generation? They hate the police, they hate most adults, especially those that try and control them, but they are suprisingly respectful to this guy, and listen politely to his little spiel.


Yeah, that's quite a good theory. Thinking about it I seem to remember our French teacher saying something about the presence of an older man highlighting the fact that there have been no male role models for Vinz, Said and Hubert. I'd just better hope it doesn't come up in the exam, or I'm screwed...
Reply 4
I'm studying the film too. i've read some articles which say that the story mimics the story of the three characters. they spend too long entangled with the rest of the world (wanting to shoot police officers etc) and you will get left behind. In their own situation, they miss the last train, and vinz gets shot at the end which likens their situation to that in the story. Also, grunwalski continually tries to reach a hand on the train but cannot because he has to keep his pride and pull up his pants. it's the same with vinz etc the hand represents things like racially equality, no violence, things like that but they can't reach it because (well mainly just vinz) cannot let down his pride and 'give in' to police.
Reply 5
This movie is so awesome.
hantom
I'm studying the film too. i've read some articles which say that the story mimics the story of the three characters. they spend too long entangled with the rest of the world (wanting to shoot police officers etc) and you will get left behind. In their own situation, they miss the last train, and vinz gets shot at the end which likens their situation to that in the story. Also, grunwalski continually tries to reach a hand on the train but cannot because he has to keep his pride and pull up his pants. it's the same with vinz etc the hand represents things like racially equality, no violence, things like that but they can't reach it because (well mainly just vinz) cannot let down his pride and 'give in' to police.


Phwoar that's deep.
Reply 7
Original post by hantom
I'm studying the film too. i've read some articles which say that the story mimics the story of the three characters. they spend too long entangled with the rest of the world (wanting to shoot police officers etc) and you will get left behind. In their own situation, they miss the last train, and vinz gets shot at the end which likens their situation to that in the story. Also, grunwalski continually tries to reach a hand on the train but cannot because he has to keep his pride and pull up his pants. it's the same with vinz etc the hand represents things like racially equality, no violence, things like that but they can't reach it because (well mainly just vinz) cannot let down his pride and 'give in' to police.


yeh i totally agree

and i could be wrong but:

in the situation that the story presents, so that grunwalski could have got on the train either he would have had to leave his pants (pride) and get on the train or the train has to stop so that he could get on (but the train never stops)...

which (in context of the film) could represent how a change in attitudes is necessary to fix the social problems that Kassovitz portrays...

and then i thought that because the youths don't understand the story it suggests how maybe it is therefore up to society to reach out and act to fix the problem...


i explained that really poorly but i wonder if that interpretation is right?
Reply 8
I know this was posted a long time ago, but I'm also studying La Haine this year, and I agree with the idea of it being about pride. I think it shows the idea that sometimes you have to swallow your pride and reject your false ideals in order to make change and to survive, both for Vinz and Grunwalski.
I also think that it's strongly connected to each of the characters' views on death. Vinz sees killing a policeman as a path to revenge and respect, Hubert sees casualties as unnecessary and to be avoided at all costs; but the old man laughs and makes a joke of his friend's death. It seems to show the insignificance of death and the way that it is a part of life that people have to accept and deal with. It highlights that idea of the insignificance of death and its inability to change the system in any way, an argument that Hubert arguably uses to dissuade Vinz from killing the Skinhead later in the film. It also foreshadows the death(s) at the end of the film, and what little difference that will make to the system.
Reply 9
It is a real story that a guy told Kassovitz whilst filming.
Reply 10
How does it foreshadow the death though???
I this is somewhat unrelated to specifically the message of that particular story, but there are many cases throughout the film when a character tells a story with an unsatisfying ending. When the old man finishes Said asks
I agree with the general message about pride, but I've also noticed that this story along with others ends in a violent matter, representing the endless cycle of violence between the police and the youths etc.
For example, the scene where the kid is telling Vinz about the "celebrity" but he doesn't remember their name. All he is interested in is that there was a fight at the end of it
Original post by hantom
I'm studying the film too. i've read some articles which say that the story mimics the story of the three characters. they spend too long entangled with the rest of the world (wanting to shoot police officers etc) and you will get left behind. In their own situation, they miss the last train, and vinz gets shot at the end which likens their situation to that in the story. Also, grunwalski continually tries to reach a hand on the train but cannot because he has to keep his pride and pull up his pants. it's the same with vinz etc the hand represents things like racially equality, no violence, things like that but they can't reach it because (well mainly just vinz) cannot let down his pride and 'give in' to police.


I did Film Studies at A levels too and we studied this film, and we came up with the same idea.

Essentially, you spend too long ********, you'll get left behind; which is what is happening to the three protagonists. They are stuck in the banlienue, ****ing around forever in what seems to be some sort nightmare or limbo world (particularly if you think about the monochrome palette and surrealist aspects of the movie).
I think the main point of the story is that if you are too proud like Vinz is you get left behind. The old man in the story died because he kept letting his pride get the better of him and pulling up his pants. Vinz dies because he won’t give in to the police he is too proud to surrender, just as Hubert tells him « tu te crois un hero? ». It’s also the only time in the story that the men interact with someone older than them, it’s interesting to see them react to him with slightly bemused expressions, Kassovitz almost suggesting that the reason for some of their insecurities and confusion with the banlieue is the fact that none of them have father figures in their lives. The banlieue is tough. If you don’t surrender your pride, you will die. The only father figure in the film tries to tell them this and they do not listen to his advice.

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