Aïssa Maïga is a Senegalese born French actress who was born on 25 May 1975 in Dakar, Senegal to a Malian father and Senegalese mother. She left Senegal for Fresnes in France with her mother. There in Fresnes, she lived until the age of nine.
At a very young age, Aissa showed an interest in movies 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 currently is an 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, Aissa appeared at the Mogador Theater and in the Follies Bergères.
After three years of study, she graduated from high school and worked on an artistic project in Zimbabwe, Eric Cloué’s Le royaume du passage at the age of 19. 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. 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 and in 2000, she played a rebellious young girl in Hanake’s Code Inconnu, starring Juliette Binoche. Aïssa has developed her flexibility by taking on such a great diversity of roles.
In 2001, she featured in Alexandre Jardin’s comedy, Le Prof, where she worked with Jean-Hughes Anglade, playing a student. Then she worked with Murielle Robin and Fejira Deliba in Marylin. She collaborated once again with Haneke in Caché in 2005, playing with Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil and Denis Podalydès.
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Aissa returned to her studies, but this time with Hélène Cheruy Zidi, at the Actor’s Lab in a bid to improve in her expertise. 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. She 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 2006 short feature by the Cohen Brothers, Paris, je t’aime.
Aissa played 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.
She was nominated for a Best Actress César in 2007 for her role as Melé, a disillusioned bar singer in Abderrahamane Sissako’s Bamako where she sang Christie Azuma’s “Naam” without knowing the language. She has been the ambassador of AMREF, an African NGO dedicated to training medical personnel involved in caring for mothers and children for several years. She also embarks on humanitarian missions. She has two children; Sonni Pocrain and Kwameh Pocrain