Hawa (2022 French film)

Hawa is a French drama film, directed by Maïmouna Doucouré and released in 2022.[1] The film centres on the coming-of-age of Hawa (Sania Halifa), a teenage girl in France who is living with her grandmother (Oumou Sangaré). Fearing that social services will take her away when her grandmother falls ill, sets out to get herself adopted by former first lady Michelle Obama.

Directed byMaïmouna Doucouré
Written byMaïmouna Doucouré
Alain-Michel Blanc
David Elkaim
Produced byZangro
StarringSania Halifa
Oumou Sangaré
Kamrul Hossain
CinematographyAntoine Sanier
Edited byNicolas Desmaison
Music byErwann Chandon
Niko Noki
Bien Ou Bien Productions
Distributed byAmazon Studios
Release dates
  • September 13, 2022 (2022-09-13) (TIFF)
Running time
104 minutes

Doucouré has described the film as being about the desire to transcend one's social class.[1]

Hawa features music from Malian Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Oumou Sangaré, as well as the French-Cameroonin singer Yseult.[2]

The film premiered in the Platform Prize program at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival on September 13, 2022,[3] prior to its commercial distribution as an Amazon Prime Video original film.[1] It was later announced that it would stream on Amazon Prime on December 9, 2022.


Hawa is a young teenage girl living in Paris with her grandmother, Maminata, a griot who is trying to train Hawa to follow in her footsteps. Her grandmother's health is failing and she is trying to get Hawa adopted so that she will be cared for if she passes.

While working at a convenience store Hawa reads an article about Michelle Obama promoting her autobiography Becoming. She decides that since Obama's children have now graduated from school she would adopt her.

Hawa learns that her friend's father, who works as a stage technician, is helping to set up for a concert for Yseult who has been invited to attend an inclusive event held by Obama. Hawa sneaks into Yseult's stage rehearsals where the singer assumes she is a fan and, charmed by Hawa's brashness, allows her to stay for the concert and takes her with her as she is preparing for the party. Hawa steals Yseult's invitation and tries to sneak into the Obama's party. She is stopped by the police and returned home.


  1. ^ a b c Elsa Keslassy, "Amazon Prime Boards Maimouna Doucouré’s ‘Hawa,’ Franck Gastambide’s ‘Medellín,’ Nicolas Bedos’ TV Debut". Variety, 12 April 2022.
  2. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (2022-04-12). "Amazon Prime Boards Maimouna Doucouré's 'Hawa,' Franck Gastambide's 'Medellín,' Nicolas Bedos' TV Debut". Variety. Retrieved 2022-11-25.
  3. ^ Jeremy Kay, "Frances O’Connor’s ‘Emily’ to open TIFF Platform alongside films from Maïmouna Doucouré, Rima Das". Screen Daily, 3 August 2022.

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