How Oussekine carefully and ambitiously recreated the atmosphere of 1986

Oussekine Disney Plus
DisneyPlus

“We tried to recreate a certain atmosphere. It was important that we hear La Ziza for example. We wanted it to transpire the 1980s…”

For a week, the mini-series Oussekine upsets Disney+ subscribers. An ambitious recreation of the 1986 drama – which saw young student Malik Oussekine murdered by the police, on the sidelines of a demonstration in which he was not even taking part – the historical mini-series takes us back to a landmark decade. A decade of change for France.

Meeting with Sayyid El Alami, the revelation of the Oussekine series on Disney +

And even if he didn’t really know her, the creator and director Antoine Chevrollier held on to”reconstruct the era“. And for this, the production relied “on archive images, of course, but above all, we were able to meet some of the protagonists, among the members of the family Oussekine still alive. They gave us keys for costumes or sets. And then we tried to recreate a certain atmosphere”, explains Antoine Chevrollier to Première before detailing: “It was important that we hear La Ziza de Balavoine for example. We wanted it to transpire the 1980s, but not to do something outdated. We looked for a happy medium between a series that tells the time and a lively series , with a modernity in the image, which moves away from something dull or grainy.”

Malek Lamraoui and Tewfik Jallab grew up during this time. Those who embody the big brothers Ben Amar and Mohamed in Oussekine particularly appreciated rediscovering the atmosphere of the 80’s decade: “It’s a very strange feeling to arrive on a set like that… It’s not that far away and yet, we’re really in a period series! These costumes, these pants, these haircuts, these attitudes… They really put the means, so that we always feel in 1986. The work on the sets and the decoration immerses us directly in it.”

But beyond the decorum, Antoine Chevrollier and its teams sought to transcribe the spirit of the times. The “vibe” of the time within the company: “We went to find former members of the UNEF to recreate as closely as possible the political and social atmosphere of 1986. All the leaflets that we see in episode 1 are real leaflets from the time (… ) On a political level, this decade is obviously a badly negotiated shift. In terms of popular culture, there was a form of naivety. Everything seemed possible. La Ziza, in this place, represents that well, a form of innocence that sounds strange today. Unfortunately, the assassination of Malik Oussekine showed that it was all a mirage…”

A vision shared by Naidra Ayadi. The actress who plays Fatna, Malik’s sister, says she has “a vague memory” of 1986. Of the atmosphere of the time. And especially the assassination of Malik Oussekine: “I was little and they told me that there was an Arab who had been killed. I think that’s when I understood that I was actually Arab… I was French, but not quite like my other girlfriends. I realized that I could be in danger, just because I was Arab.”

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