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Aïssa Maïga in 2017
25 May 1975
Aïssa Maïga was born in Dakar, Senegal to a Malian father and Senegalese mother. She and her mother left Senegal for Fresnes in France, where she lived until the age of nine. She showed an interest in movies at a very young age and was not satisfied being a mere movie-goer. On a school field trip to a theater, she was able to slip away from her teacher and make her way back stage. In high school she took her first acting classes with Daisie Faye, who today is artistic director of a Jazz and comedy festival that provides a more liberal curriculum. At the age of 14 and for three years, she was in The longest night (1992) a musical comedy by her teacher and during this time, appeared at the Mogador Theater and in the Follies Bergères
She graduated from high school after three years of study, including theater studies and worked on an artistic project in Zimbabwe, Eric Cloué’s Le royaume du passage. She was 19 years old. Working with local actors in Zimbabwe, she discovered street theater and decided to become an actress.
She made her feature film debut, appearing in Denis Amart's Saraka Bô. She followed that up in 2000 playing a rebellious young girl in Hanake's Code Inconnu, starring Juliette Binoche. Aïssa Maïga has developed her versatility by taking on such a great diversity of roles. In 1999, she worked with New Wave director, Alain Tanner, in the sequel to the 1975 cult film Jonas, playing Lila in Jonas and Lila.
In Alexandre Jardin's 2001 comedy, Le Prof, she worked with Jean-Hughes Anglade, playing a student. Then she worked with Murielle Robin and Fejira Deliba in Marylin, a film dealing with the social and economic insecurity and solidarity among cashiers. She collaborated once again with Haneke in Caché (2005), playing with Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil and Denis Podalydès. She also appeared in several television series.
In her desire to consolidate all she had learned, she returned to her studies, this time with Hélène Cheruy Zidi, at the Actor’s Lab. Her perfectionism was well worth the effort. In 2007 she starred in two features, distinguishing herself in the role of Kassia in Kapiche’s Poupés Russes and in Claude Berry’s L’un reste,l’autre part. Aïssa Maïga made her mark on French cinema through a series of roles and fortuitous meetings with films such as Je vais bien, ne t’en fais pas with Melanie Laurent and in Oliver Schmitz’s short "Place des Fetes" in 2006's Paris, je t’aime.
In 2007 she was nominated for a Best Actress César for her role as Melé, a disillusioned bar singer in Abderrahamane Sissako’s Bamako. In this role she sang Christie Azuma’s “Naam” without knowing the language.
Although she had numerous film successes (Michel Gondry’s L’Ecume des jours, art films and comedies, i.e. Prête à tout, TV films such as Toussaint L’Ouverture, 2012), her popularity was not an obstacle to a return to the stage in Brooklyn Boy (2004), Les grandes personnes, adapted from the book by Marie N’diaye as well as in David Lindsay-Abaire’s Des gens biens.
She plays an African mother who tells the story of African intellectuals’ immigration through the lens of the life of French rapper, Kamini and his family in the 2016 movie Bienvenue à Marly-Gomont.
In 2012, she appeared in Cristina Comencini’s Bianco e Nero with Thierry Ebouaney, a performance that won her two awards: Cinema i Done and the Festival de Bastia award.
She was also on the set of Mickey Dubé’s Comatose in South Africa in 2016.
In 2018 Aïssa appeared in the Irish RTE drama "Taken Down" written by Stuart Carolan, playing a main role to critical acclaim.
For several years, she has been the ambassador of AMREF, an African NGO dedicated to training medical personnel involved in caring for mothers and children. In 2012, she went to Uganda on a humanitarian mission.
|2004||Brooklyn Boy||Donald Margulies||Michel Fagadau||Comédie des Champs-Élysées|
|2011||Les Grandes Personnes||Marie NDiaye||Christophe Perton||Théâtre national de la Colline|
|2015||Good People||David Lindsay-Abaire||Anne Bourgeois||Théâtre Hébertot|
|1997||Saraka bô||Danièle||Denis Amar|
|1998||La revanche de Lucy||Lucy||Janusz Mrozowski|
|Le cadeau de maman||Patrick Halpine||Short|
|Un mois de réflexion||Sylvie||Serge Moati||TV Movie|
|1999||Jonas et Lila, à demain||Lila||Alain Tanner|
|Maison de famille||Sylvie||Serge Moati (2)||TV Movie|
|2000||Code Unknown||Black Girl||Michael Haneke|
|Le prof||Julie||Alexandre Jardin|
|Lise et André||Esther||Denis Dercourt|
|Mom's Present||Farida||Patrick Halpine (2)||Short|
|2001||Voyage à Ouaga||Loutaya||Camille Mouyéké|
|2002||Georges chez les tops||Gisela||Olivier Chrétien||Short|
|Négro||Aïssa||Karim Akadiri Soumaïla||TV Movie|
|2003||Mes enfants ne sont pas comme les autres||Myriam||Denis Dercourt (2)|
|Les baigneuses||Rita's sister||Viviane Candas|
|Rien que du bonheur||Anna||Denis Parent|
|Commissaire Moulin||Dolly||Joyce Buñuel||TV Series (1 Episode)|
|Les Cordier, juge et flic||Aline||Gilles Béhat||TV Series (1 Episode)|
|2004||Libre armada||Ingrid Gogny, Vincent Jaglin, ...|
|Par accident||Constance||Jérôme Foulon||TV Movie|
|2005||Russian Dolls||Kassia||Cédric Klapisch|
|Caché||Chantal||Michael Haneke (2)|
|L'un reste, l'autre part||Farida||Claude Berri|
|Travaux, on sait quand ça commence...||Condé's fiancé||Brigitte Roüan|
|Le train||The barman||Brahim Fritah||Short|
|Sometimes in April||Young Militant||Raoul Peck||TV Movie|
|P.J.||Marie-Laure Vecchiali||Christophe Barbier||TV Series (1 Episode)|
|2006||Bamako||Melé||Abderrahmane Sissako||Nominated - César Award for Most Promising Actress|
|Paris, je t'aime||Sophie||Oliver Schmitz|
|Don't Worry, I'm Fine||Léa||Philippe Lioret|
|I Do||Kirsten Hansen||Éric Lartigau|
|Mamdou il est où ?||Mariettou||Khady N'Diaye||Short|
|Une famille parfaite||Martha||Patrick-Mario Bernard & Pierre Trividic||TV Movie|
|2007||L'âge d'homme... maintenant ou jamais !||Tina||Raphaël Fejtö|
|Carcasse||Aïssa||Ismael El Iraki||Short|
|2008||Black and White||Nadine||Cristina Comencini||Bastia Italian Film Festival - Best Actress|
|Les insoumis||Kathia||Claude-Michel Rome|
|Sex, Okra and Salted Butter||Amina||Mahamat Saleh Haroun||TV Movie|
|2009||Diamant 13||Farida||Gilles Béhat (2)|
|L'aide au retour||The official||Mohammed Latreche||Short|
|Pas de toit sans moi||Ashanti||Guy Jacques||TV Movie|
|Suite noire||Sara||Dominique Cabrera||TV Series (1 Episode)|
|2010||Ensemble, c'est trop||Clémentine||Léa Fazer|
|Le temps de la kermesse est terminé||Martina||Frédéric Chignac|
|2011||Mineurs 27||Aminata||Tristan Aurouet|
|Dédicace||Elise||Olivier Chrétien (2)||Short|
|2012||HOUBA! On the Trail of the Marsupilami||Clarisse Iris||Alain Chabat|
|One Man's Show||Elisa||Newton Aduaka|
|Toussaint Louverture||Suzanne||Philippe Niang||TV Mini-Series|
|2013||Mood Indigo||Alise||Michel Gondry|
|Aya of Yop City||Aya||Alain Chabat||Voice|
|Mortel été||Julie||Denis Malleval||TV Movie|
Luchon International Film Festival - Best Actress
|2014||Prêt à tout||Alice||Nicolas Cuche||Globes de Cristal Award for Best Actress|
|2015||Mystère à la Tour Eiffel||Henriette||Léa Fazer (2)||TV Movie|
|2016||The African Doctor||Anne Zantoko||Julien Rambaldi|
|Corniche Kennedy||Awa||Dominique Cabrera (2)|
|Love Is Dead||Léane||Éric Capitaine|
|2017||Il a déjà tes yeux||Salimata Aloka||Lucien Jean-Baptiste|
|2019||The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind||Agnes KamKwamba||Chiwetel Ejiofor|
- Aïssa Maïga Elle
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