My Brother the Devil

Fourteen-year-old Mo is a lonely, sensitive boy whose hunger for the rant and banter of buddies makes him prone to tread dangerous territories. He idolizes his handsome older brother, Rashid, a charismatic, well-respected member of a local gang, whose drug dealing enables “Rash” to provide for his family. Aching to be seen as a tough guy himself, Mo takes a job that unlocks a fateful turn of events and forces the brothers to confront their inner demons. It turns out that hate is easy. It is love and understanding that take real courage. [Synopsis courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival]

La Haine

When he was just 29 years old, Matthieu Kassovitz took the international film world by storm with La Haine (Hate), a gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically in the low-income banlieue districts on Paris’s outskirts. Aimlessly whiling away their days in the concrete environs of their dead-end suburbia, Vinz, Hubert, and Said — a Jew, African, and an Arab — give human faces to France’s immigrant populations, their bristling resentment at their social marginalization slowly simmering until it reaches a climactic boiling point. A work of tough beauty, La Haine is a landmark of contemporary French cinema and a gripping reflection of its country’s ongoing identity crisis.