CRITICISM / SERIAL OPINION – On the night of December 5 to 6, 1986, the young Malik Oussekine died under the blows of the police. 35 years later, the series “Oussekine” looks back on the case by focusing above all on the impact on those close to him, without evading the media, political and societal fallout.
Oussekine: a tragic night in December 1986
The first episode ofOussekine begins on the evening of December 5, 1986. While students demonstrate against the Devaquet law in the streets of Paris, Malik Oussekine (Sayyid El Alami) is not in a protest atmosphere. The young man is delighted to go to a particularly important event for him: a concert given by Nina Simone in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
On his return, he finds himself caught in the clashes and starts running following the general movement. Aerial police chase him on a motorbike. They manage to enter the hall of the building where Malik has taken refuge and beat him to death. The creator and director Antoine Chevrollier chooses to reveal his death over the episodes, which sail through time. Each time the program returns to this evening, the spectator’s throat is tied, even if he knows the tragic outcome of the facts.
A narrative at the service of emotion
If the emotion always functions, it is because these passages come to support sequences that underline the injustice and especially the sadness of this disappearance. Oussekine alternates between several eras and several spheres. During the scenes in 1986, the series focuses in particular on the efforts made by the authorities and the Minister Delegate for Security Robert Pandraud (Olivier Gourmet) to try to prove that Malik’s death was not due to a police blunder. But she focuses primarily on the reactions of Malik’s family.
From the first episode, how his big sister Sarah (Mouna Soualem) and his big brother Ben Amar (Malek Lamraoui) seek to preserve their mother Aicha (Hiam Abbass) upsets the viewer. Antoine Chevrollier then succeeds in explaining the reasons for their actions by delving into their past, their respective place within the family, the weight of the death of their father Miloud (Slimane Dazi), or even Malik’s deep attachment to French cultural heritage. . He thus links the intimate to political themes.
In the intimacy of a family
Oussekine stands out as an accurate portrait of these individuals, which bears witness to their modesty and dignity avoiding both miserabilism and vindictiveness. The series does not need to hammer its point for the seriousness of the facts of which Malik was the victim to stand out and for the viewer to be able to link them to other events that have occurred over the past 35 years. If the tears rise, it is above all thanks to solar shots of loved ones united, whether by death or life, but also thanks to musical or narrative choices, like the always relevant transitions between eras. and episodes.
The series explores the feeling of emptiness left by mourning through an insistent but in no way catchy staging. The hands of the father, for example, give way to those of the bereaved son. The single mother remembers a moment spent with her missing child while preparing a dish he enjoyed. The outpourings of emotions pass through this type of realization idea, which comes sublimate characters in introspection.
A crushing end
If he does not evade the trial, transcribed in an exciting final episode, he should also look at people involved in the case such as lawyer Georges Kiejman (Kad Merad) or police officer Jissé Garcia (Matthieu Lucci), Oussekine, therefore, wants to be like the presentation of faces behind a name. Faces marked by the time reveal themselves in a moving conclusion. The on-screen appearance of Sarah, Ben Amar, and Mohamed Oussekine is worth so much more than the usual explanatory boxes that close many biographical productions.
Like the rest of the series, these last shots avoid the moral and the history lesson. They simply remind us that after a death, you have to fight to continue to live, especially in such circumstances and in the face of such injustice. And prove that appeasement is possible, including in combat.
Oussekine by Antoine Chevrollier, on Disney+ from May 11, 2022. Above the trailer.