Hafsia Herzi
Hafsia Herzi © Rezo Films

Two films by Hafsia Herzi join the IFcinéma catalogue

Ever since I was little, I have always dreamed of writing, telling stories and getting behind the camera.

First seen in Abdellatif Kechiche's La Graine et le Mulet, Hafsia Herzi has established herself as an audacious actress with a diversity of projects, collaborations and strong characters. Having moved behind the camera in 2019, she is now pursuing a career as a director, where intensity and emotion are the order of the day. 

Updated on 13/09/2022

5 min

Born on 25 January 1987 in Manosque in the south of France, Hafsia Herzi has dreamed of becoming an actress since she was very young. She appeared for the first time on screen at the age of 13 in a France 3 TV film, Notes sur le rire, alongside Thomas Jouannet. After unsuccessful attempts at casting for the series Plus belle la vie and Sous le soleil, her career took off when she worked with Abdellatif Kechiche in 2005. He recognised her potential and offered her the lead role in La Graine et le Mulet, for which she gained 15 kilos and trained intensively in oriental dance. Her performance was awarded the Marcello-Mastroianni prize at the 64th Venice Film Festival and the César for Best New Actress in 2008. 

From 2007 onwards, she improved her skills by enrolling at the conservatoire and taking diction classes. She then went on to play a series of roles in the cinema, including a role with Jean-Paul Belmondo in Francis Huster's film Un homme et son chien. In 2010, she directed her first short film, Le Rodba, and then moved on to feature films with Tu mérites un amour, presented at the Semaine de la Critique in Cannes in 2019. Two years later, she returned to the Croisette for her second film, Bonne mère, which was selected in the Un Certain Regard section and won the Ensemble prize. 

A great lover of literature, from Arthur Rimbaud to Frida Kahlo, Hafsia Herzi borrowed one of the Mexican artist's poems for the title of her first feature film, Tu mérites un amour. True to her thirst for freedom and her desire to play original, uncompromising roles, the actress-director has infused her sense of language and offbeat ideas into the heart of a bittersweet film about a young woman shattered by a break-up in love. In a vein close to that of Abdellatif Kechiche - whom she considers like a father - this essay is carried by the passion and excitement around a singular project. 

With an infectious energy, bathed in realism and sensitivity, Hafsia Herzi portrays feminine desire, the complexity of human relationships, but also the reconquest of oneself. With Bonne mère in 2021, she depicts her own memories of her childhood, spent in the housing estates of Marseille. As we follow Nora, a mother in difficulty, she recounts the accumulation of jobs and precariousness, as well as the lives of future adults plunged into the whirlwind of existence. 

Selected for the "My French Festival" in 2021, Tu mérites un amour has been seen by Internet users around the world thanks to an initiative created by UniFrance. The film has also been distributed to Japan, Brazil and North African countries. At the same time, the director was awarded the prize for best first film at the Stockholm Film Festival.

For her next project, Hafsia Herzi plans to adapt Fatima Daas' first novel, La Petite Dernière. An autobiographical fiction published in 2020, it untangles the author's relationship with the Muslim faith, while denouncing institutional racism. Produced by the production company June Films, the feature film will receive support for promotion in France and internationally.

Tu mérites un amour and Bonne Mère are also distributed internationally by the Institut français through the IFcinéma platform.

Tu mérites un amour (2019) - Bande annonce
Tu mérites un amour (2019) - Bande annonce
  • 2007


    Hafsia Herzi débuts in Abdellatif Kechiche's La Graine et le Mulet, for which she receives the César for best female hopeful.

  • 2009


    She stars with Jean-Paul Belmondo in Francis Huster's Un homme et son chien.

  • 2011


    The actress continues to work with different directors in Radu Mihaileanu's La Source des femmes, Isabelle Brocard's Ma compagne de nuit and L'Apollonide: Souvenirs de la maison close, by Bertrand Bonello.

  • 2019


    She directs her first feature film, Tu mérites un amour.

  • 2021


    Her second film, Bonne Mère, is presented at the Cannes Film Festival, where it wins the Prix d'Ensemble in the Un Certain Regard selection.

The Institut français

Tu mérites un amour and Bonne mère by Hafsia Herzi are screened internationally by the Institut français. 

The Institut français offers a catalogue of over 2,500 titles, enabling the French cultural network and its partners to screen French films around the world. Discover IFcinema 

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