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Long before George Floyd or Adama Traoré, another symbol of police violence. On the night of December 5-6, 1986 in Paris, Malik Oussekine, a 22-year-old French student of Algerian origin, died after being beaten by the police. Before Our brothers by Rachid Bouchareb in the Cannes selection, oussekinea four-episode miniseries available this Wednesday on Disney +, returns for the first time to this tragedy and the struggle of the family of the deceased for justice.
The intimate story, as worthy as it is moving, of a “dark page of French history, never treated”, according to Antoine Chevrollier, creator of this powerful fiction screened at the end of the Series Mania festival
Paris, December 5, 1986, Malik Oussekine, a student with no background at the School of Real Estate Professions (ESPI), leaves a jazz concert. After several weeks of protests against Alain Devaquet’s university reform project, clashes continue between demonstrators and the police.
“The murderous State, an example of Malik Oussekine”
The squad of air police on motorcycles has the mission to expel the thugs. Malik Oussekine, who however remains outside the movement, is overshadowed by these bikers. He was beaten in the lobby of a building on rue Monsieur-le-Prince in Paris, where he thought he would find refuge. He died a few hours later in Cochin hospital of cardiac arrest caused by his injuries.
A tragic story of facies offense that Antoine Chevrollier has been thinking about since he heard, as a teenager, “Malik Oussekine’s name and surname for the first time” in a title of the rap group Assassin’s album, released on June 2 . 1995. “The chorus said ‘The murderous State, an example of Malik Oussekine’. Black Baron.
“We didn’t want to tell the story of an Arab, but Malik’s”
Antoine Chevrollier and his co-authors Faïza Guène, (author of love love tomorrow), Julien Lilti (hippocrates) and Cedric Ido (The good life) adopt the point of view of Malik Oussekine’s family: his mother Aïcha (Hiam Abbass), his brothers Ben Amar (Malek Lamraoui) and Mohamed (Tewfik Jallab) – the brothers’ surrogate father since the death of their father Miloud (Slimane). Dazi) – and her sisters Fatna (Naidra Ayadi) and Sarah (Mouna Soualem).
“It was obvious that it was above all the story of a family. We quickly talked about having the intimate point of view, that of his family. After all, mourning is universal”, emphasizes Faïza Guène. “We quickly knew that we wanted to get out of the symbol of police blunders and get into something intimate to play and that the project acquire all its universality. You had to go through something tangible, emotional”, adds Julien Lilti.
“Sarah, Ben Amar and Mohamed are still alive. We met them. We had to establish a relationship of trust. During long interviews, they gave us many keys to go precisely to this place of empathy and understanding, and feel this pain more strongly”, Antoine Chevrollier continues.
“What I think is interesting in our approach is that Malik was killed because he was an Arab, that he was instrumentalized in a positive way because he was an Arab. We didn’t want to tell the story of an Arab, but Malik’s”, explains Julien Lilti.
“Malik could not be the symbol of any generation of immigrants”
The series also reviews the wave of emotion that followed the murder and the marches that brought together thousands of people in France where they chanted “Never again.” Never more police violence, never more racism.
“But Malik couldn’t be the symbol of any generation of immigrants, because he was just Malik, just an individual. Perhaps a way of saying, let’s stop returning people to their first visible identity, to what they seem to be, let’s try to remember that we are a sum of individualities and that is how we can make a community”, analyzes the screenwriter. .
“A state mechanism when there is police violence”
oussekine does not hide the political dimension of the drama, nor the attempts to cover up the matter, in particular those of the Delegate Minister for Security, Robert Pandraud (Olivier Gourmet)
“We describe a whole state mechanism when there is police violence. We find exactly the same mechanics in the Adama Traoré case as in the case of the yellow vests. We will systematically criminalize the victim, we will intimidate the family until we reach a denial of justice, supposedly to protect the State, society. In the end, we create irremediable fractures”, regrets Julien Lilti.
“The last beats of Malik Oussekine’s heart”
“We always told ourselves that we couldn’t think of this story outside of an ethical question,” says Faïza Guène. The scenarios are based on interviews with the lawyer Georges Kiejman (Kad Merad), Jacques Attali, Patrick Ecollan, the revivalist of the Samu or even Paul Bayzelon (Louis Barthélémy), the only eyewitness to what happened in this room on the night of 5 -6th of December. “We met most of the protagonists still alive that we discover in fiction,” celebrates Antoine Chevrollier.
“With Georges Kiejman, it was quite simple, I wanted to tell the story. Paul Bayzelon hadn’t talked about the case since 1990, that is, about the trial. We felt that thirty years had passed, it was quite strong”, explains Antoine Chevrollier. And add, excited, that Patrick Ecollan, the Samu resuscitator “saved Malik Oussekine’s last heartbeat, his electrocardiogram.”
For some more distant protagonists, the affair was “a marker of political compromise”, recalls Faïza Guène, citing David Dufresne, Yannick Jadot or even Mogniss H. Abdallah. For them, it was quite liberating to talk about it. »
“The goal is to heal the wounds. By telling ourselves, by looking our story in the face, we heal a little. By showing what happened, this unpunished state violence, this judicial injustice, I hope that we will appease certain resentments”, concludes Antoine Chevrollier.