Presented in the Cannes Première selection, Our Brothers looks back on the Malik Oussekine case, as did the Oussekine series on Disney+. Two points of view, two tones for a subject finally treated on the big and the small screen.
It’s a matter that had never been dealt with directly in the cinema, apart from a few quotes in Derrick vs. Superman by Michel Hazanavicius or Hatred by Matthew Kassovitz. This tragic case of police violence that occurred on the night of December 5, 1986, in the midst of a student protest in Paris against the Devaquet university reform project, and which made Malik Oussekine a symbol, is entitled, this year, to two works which are which have a different bias and which are complementary.
The Oussekine series
On the one hand, we have the series Oussekine, available on Disney+, which returns in four episodes to the terrible events that caused the death of Malik Oussekine and its consequences. Through the serial format, this creation ofAntoine Chevrollier explores in depth the impact of the death of Malik (played by Sayyid Al Alami) and portrays him through the prism of his family.
It is through the eyes of his relatives, distraught, weakened and victims of racism, that the series dissects the upheaval and the strong emotion that this affair has caused in French society. The series also focuses on recounting the long and painful legal battle of the Oussekine family for the truth to be heard.
A true family drama, Oussekine is told in three stages: the time of the past on Malik’s youth, the time of the present on the struggle of relatives and the time of the incident on the death of the young man. The series spares us neither the physical violence nor the psychological violence nor the verbal violence that emerged from the affair, without however falling into vulgarity and complacency.
A punchy, accurate and brilliantly written series (thanks to the collaborative work of the authors Antoine Chevrollier, Faïza Guène, Cédric Ido, Julien Lilti and Lina Soualem), Oussekine is a real success which brings this affair to light with force and emotion, thanks to a rich narration and masterful interpretations of its cast (Hiam Abbass, Slimane Dazi, Naidra Ayadi, Mouna Soualem, Tewfik Jallab, Malek Lamraoui, Kad Merad, Olivier Gourmet, Lawrence Stocker, Thierry Godard, Matthew Lucci, Matthew Demy and Gilles Cohen).
The Oussekine series is already available on Disney+.
Our Brothers movie
On the other hand, the filmmaker Rachid Boucharebknown in particular for Indigènes and Cheb, returns to the Cannes Film Festival this year with Our Brothers, presented in the “Cannes Première” section. The feature film therefore also returns to the Malik Oussekine affair, but not only… It also seeks to highlight the tragic death of another young Frenchman of Algerian origin, of whom we have heard less, Abdel Benyahia, shot dead by an alcoholic policeman and outside his hours of service in Pantin.
Rachid Bouchareb has therefore decided to follow two bereaved and bruised families who have lost a brother at the hands of repressive, poorly trained police and under pressure from a Ministry of the Interior which seeks to stifle these blunders and police violence. . With these two cases which respond to each other and which terribly echo the news, the filmmaker takes the lice of a year 1986 shaken by student demonstrations.
And this cry from the heart of an oppressed youth is felt all the more thanks to the archive images, very present in the film, which are not only used as illustrations but which come to decorate and build a story, co-written with Kaouther Adimiof great humanity and imbued with a galvanizing fraternal energy punctuated by sounds of revolt, like Mano Negra and Renaud.
And we can also count on the involved performances of its excellent cast: Lyna Khoudri, Reda Kateb, Raphael Personnaz, Samir Guesmi, Lais Salameh and Adam Amara, to make this film an important and powerful drama. Less centered on the family’s past than on the importance of the symbol and the impact of these two cases, Our Brothers is a unifying film but also sober and modest, because we do not see explicitly the deaths of Malik and Abdel but their souls hover over the whole film which ends with a note of hope and homage.
The film Our Brothers is to be discovered soon at the cinema.