Screened at the end of the 12th edition of the Series Mania festival, the “Oussekine” series created by Antoine Chevrollier traces the death of student Malik Oussekine and his family’s fight. Before its release on Disney+, we saw the first episode.
It is a tragedy that marked an entire generation. On December 6, 1986, in Paris, the body of Malik Oussekine was found in a stairwell. A few hours earlier, the 22-year-old was chased by a group of acrobats – police officers on motorcycles armed with batons. Frightened, he took refuge in the hall of a building, before being beaten by two agents. Once there, paramedics tried to resuscitate him, but were unsuccessful. He died of cardiac arrest at Cochin Hospital.
It was 36 years ago. Today, the name Oussekine is that of a series offered by Disney+. Haunted by this story, designer Antoine Chevrollier (The Office of Legends) traces the fight of a family for the truth and the honor of their son. More than a tribute, it is a duty of memory for all those who, too young, did not know this affair.
The first of four episodes, screened at the end of the 12th edition of the Series Mania festival in Lille, is a real shock. The opening sequence reconstructs the last moments of the student’s life. We discover an ordinary young man (Sayyid El Alami) who leaves his Parisian studio to go to a jazz concert. On the way back, passers-by run in the wrong direction. The sound of truncheons resounds in the streets and announces the fatal drama.
After the assassination comes the expectation. That of the members of the Oussekine family who, without news the next day, must stick to rumors or a name scratched on the radio. Unbearable, this uncertainty also weighs on the viewer who lives this episode closer to the characters, from the family apartment to the four walls of a morgue. The creator, screenwriter and director Antoine Chevrollier has chosen to approach this affair from the prism of the intimate.
The series nevertheless remains political through, among other things, the commitment and the cry of anger of the students – who are fighting in parallel against the Devaquet bill. All gathered in an amphitheater, they chant the name of the victim, before participating in a minute of silence. The sequence, carried by an excellent staging, is of great intensity. The project also sheds light on the modus operandi of the authorities to transform a simple student into an ideal culprit, lending him a membership in a group of Lebanese terrorists.
Written by eight hands – Antoine Chevrollier worked with Cédric Ido, Faïza Guène and Julien Lilti -, the plot is divided into three temporalities. The first focuses on the night of the drama, the second follows the family struggle and the third looks back at the origins of the Oussekine clan. One of the sequences of flashback shows in particular the massacre of October 17, 1961, the day during which Muslims were drowned in the Seine.
The series shines thanks to its cast. Naidra Ayadi, Malek Lamraoui, Tewfik Jallab and Mouna Soualem are poignant in the roles of siblings, as is Hiam Abbass who plays the role of mother, one of the strongest characters. The other major asset: its relevance. Although the plot takes place in the eighties – the reconstruction of the Mitterrand era is a real success – the subject of the series is still relevant. It is one of the many strengths ofOussekine.
Oussekineavailable soon on Disney+.