In 1995, Mathieu Kassovitz certainly made the best film of his career with “La Haine”. A huge masterpiece of French cinema, the feature film is inspired by a true story: the Makomé M’Bowolé affair.
Hatred: the important thing is not the fall, it’s the landing
In 1995, filmmaker Mathieu Kassovitz brought together actors Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, and Saïd Taghmaoui to stage Hatred. Always considered a reference, the feature film begins after the beating of the young Abdel Ichah, sixteen years old, by the police. A blunder that pushes the members of his city to rebel against the forces of order.
Hatred was a huge critical and popular success. The feature film is nominated 9 times for the Césars and leaves with three statuettes. That of Best Film, Best Editing, and Best Producer. Hatred is also selected at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and won the Best Director Prize.
What is less known about Hatred, is that the film is inspired by a true story. Indeed, Mathieu Kassovitz based himself on the Makomé M’Bowolé affair. On April 6, 1993, at the Grandes-Carrières police station, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, police inspector Pascal Compain, 38, kills young Makomé M’Bowolé at point-blank range with a bullet to the head. The policeman then declares having fired by accident.
The Makomé M’Bowolé affair
The arrest first occurs around 4:30 in the morning. Makomé M’Bowolé, then 17 years old, and his two friends, Ibrahim Kamara and Alioum Gaye, fled the police after stealing several cartons of cigarettes. The police catch up with the young men and place them in custody. The same day, around 4:30 p.m., Ibrahim Kamara and Alioum Gaye are released but Makomé M’Bowolé remains at the post. The police want a confession about a burglary. Inspector Pascal Compain threatens the young man with his weapon to intimidate him, thinking that it is unloaded. The blow goes off on its own according to Pascal Compain. Guirec Blochet, trainee inspector, and Thierry Guigno, also an inspector, witness the scene.
The trial of Pascal Compain opens on February 12, 1996, almost three years after the events. The police risk up to 30 years in prison for intentional homicide. Finally, after a defense that explains that this kind of intimidation practice is quite common and that it was Makomé M’Bowolé who started the burst while struggling, Pascal Compain is sentenced to 8 years in prison for intentional violence and manslaughter. At the time, it was the heaviest sentence ever handed down to a police officer.
The case received wide media coverage. The newspapers seized on the affair and denounced inadmissible police violence. The facts are even mentioned in an Amnesty International report. The murder of Makomé M’Bowolé is followed by three days of riots, looting, and clashes with the police in the heart of Paris. Facts that will inspire Mathieu Kassovitz to realize Hatred…