Rachid Hami, filmmaker in the name of the brother

It happens that the news, by hitting certain lives, to the point of exploding them into pieces, also strengthens wills, traces destinies, irradiates a course. Drama entered the life of Rachid Hami on October 30, 2012, when he saw two men in uniform and kepi arrive, looking serious, at his mother’s Parisian home. “We immediately understood why they had come, the only question we asked was: ‘How?’ », he says.

His brother Jallal Hami, the second of three siblings, became “the drowned man of Saint-Cyr” that day: a brilliant student at Sciences Po in Paris, born in Algeria and who grew up in Seine-Saint- Denis, who entered the very conservative school for army officers in Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan (Morbihan), died during a group exercise in the night crossing of an icy pond dressed in all his gear and a heavy helmet. This is called a “hazing”, in fact a hazing, in the jargon of the military institution which still likes to see in it a “transmission of traditions”.

The next day, the eldest of the family and his mother go to Rennes to recognize the body. The prosecutor announces to them that an investigation has been opened for manslaughter. “We knew that the time for the investigation and justice would be long, says Rachid Hami, who had no idea then that it would be necessary to wait eight years for the trial. At that time, what matters to us is that Jallal is buried with the honors he deserves. »

Begins a long trial of strength with the army on the modalities of the burial of Jallal. It is, among other things, the subject of the second feature film by Rachid Hami, 37, For France, where he draws inspiration from his story; he and his brother Jallal are interpreted there by the actors Karim Leklou (BAC North…) and Shaïn Boumedine (Mektoub, My Love). The film, presented at the last Venice Film Festival, will be released in theaters on February 8.

Arm wrestling military

Despite the promises of the commander of the school of Saint-Cyr, the day after the death, the army refused military honors to Jallal and planned to bury him in the Muslim square of the Bobigny cemetery. A double affront for a family that has always made it a point of honor to consider itself French first and foremost.

“The army did not behave well. We considered Jallal’s death, through the fault of his comrades, to be treason. By refusing to recognize him as one of its own, the army betrayed him a second time,” explains Rachid Hami. Then he tempers: “The army is no worse than the rest of society, it behaves like it. »

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