A Capraesque tale about a soon-to-be-orphaned adolescent seeking an audience with Michelle Obama, Maïmouna Doucouré’s sophomore feature dismantles boundaries of status and decorum and celebrates the power of self-determination.

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Platform

Hawa

Maïmouna Doucouré

A Capraesque tale about a soon-to-be-orphaned adolescent seeking an audience with the icon she’s chosen to be her adoptive mother, writer-director Maïmouna Doucouré’s follow-up to her lauded feature debut Cuties dismantles boundaries of status and decorum and celebrates the power of self-determination.

A 15-year-old girl with a beautiful blond afro, Coke-bottle glasses, and an innate disregard for social niceties, Hawa (Sania Halifa) is not your typical Parisian teen. Maminata (famed Malian singer Oumou Sangaré), her beloved grandmother and sole guardian, is terminally ill, hasn’t long to live, and has yet to secure a new family for her granddaughter. Luckily, Hawa has come up with a perfect solution to their problem. Michelle Obama is visiting Paris and has stated publicly that she misses her daughters, who are now adults and have moved out. Clearly, Obama should adopt Hawa. Hawa simply needs to let her know.

Over the course of Hawa, our fearless heroine ambushes entourages and security details in a concert hall, an embassy, a hospital, and an airport. Hawa befriends unexpected celebrities along the way — singer-songwriter Yseult among them — who recognize a fierce spirit in this scooter-riding stalker. But Hawa only has eyes for Obama.

Doucouré subtly alternates between seeing events through Hawa’s inner world and directing a thoughtful gaze on a young woman’s audacious quest for home and belonging.

ANITA LEE

Screenings

Fri Sep 09

Scotiabank 6

Press
11:10am
Tue Sep 13

TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Regular
8:30pm
Wed Sep 14

Scotiabank 2

Regular
11:00am
Wed Sep 14

Scotiabank 6

Press
2:10pm
Sat Sep 17

Scotiabank 9

Regular
9:05am