The first time he heard of Malik Oussekine, Antoine Chevrollier was around 10 years old. “It was in the 1990s when I was listening to the rap track The murderous state (from the Assassin group, editor’s note), he confides. His name never left my head again. I always knew I wanted to tell his story. » The director of dark baron and Legends Office therefore releases its latest creation on the Disney + platform on May 11, with a brief and sober title: Oussekine.
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A very successful series, in four episodes of one hour each, in which the viewer follows Malik, 22, returning from a concert on the evening of December 5, 1986, beaten to death by three police officers on the sidelines of a student demonstration in the Latin Quarter in Paris. But above all, he walks with his family: his mother, Aïcha; his sisters Fatna and Sarah; his brothers Ben Amar and Mohamed. Their mourning, but also their fight, until the trial in 1990.
“The objective was not to make a documentary”specifies Antoine Chevrollier, who co-wrote the series with Faïza Guène, Cédric Ido, Julien Lilti and Lina Soualem. “Regarding the facts, everything is true. But we injected fiction into the story, based on anecdotes given to us by Sarah, Ben Amar and Mohamed”he continues.
Help from relatives
It was of course essential to turn to the family of Malik Oussekine: to put in images such a drama, still resounding today, it is to take the risk of hurting the relatives who are still alive. Without their consent and help, the series would probably not have been so legitimate and respectful of this memory. “From September 2020 to January 2021, I saw Ben Amar and Mohamed very regularly and I had Sarah on the phone. I asked them how was Malik, what was his personality, testifies Antoine Chevrollier. Gradually, we forged a bond of trust. I was able to understand who they were and where they came from. »
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Although Ben Amar and Mohamed Oussekine did not read the scripts, they visited the writing teams, but also the actors during filming. They also guided the head decorator (Colombe Raby), in particular by describing their mother’s apartment. “They lent us photos, and even Malik’s briefcase, in which he stored his personal belongings”says Lina Soualem. “This was the symbol of the bond we created with them”remembers Cédric Ido with emotion. “When we no longer knew how to move forward with the writing, we opened it up and discovered new elements to move the story forward”adds Antoine Chevrollier.
A multitude of sources
On the police, justice and government side, the scriptwriters had access to various sources: archives, direct and indirect testimonies… “Everything is documented, says Julien Lilti. What we discovered is that with each police blunder, a kind of tacit protocol is put in place to avoid a scandal. It doesn’t date from 1986 and it hasn’t stopped since. »
The night of Malik Oussekine’s death is shown in snippets, scattered between the four episodes. For a long time, the series spares us the beating of the young man, ” by modesty “explains Julien Lilti, but not only: “If we had entered history at this precise moment, the series would have had no added value, because Malik has been talked about for thirty years. We wanted to tell his life, his story. By presenting him in his vitality, we made the bet that the spectators would become attached to him, alive, and would feel all the more the injustice and the inhumanity of this crime. » Because Malik lived 22 years before being brutally killed: “He didn’t come into existence the moment a truncheon hit him”completes Faïza Guène.
This scene of violence, it was necessary to show it all the same: “This man died under the beatings of the police. That’s also the story and the truth.”, believes Julien Tilti. But never any scene crosses the limit of the bearable: we will see only very briefly the corpse of the young man, almost not his swollen face. Above all, we keep in mind the images of Malik smiling, happy… Alive.