Isabelle Mayor

Isabelle Mayor

International Jury Member 2015

A young girl with long dark hair approaches her friend Benji and whispers to his ear: “ I really want to do it with you”, words that could appear quite ambiguous to those who still have to see Isabelle Mayor’s short film Amira Anyway, what the protagonists have to do is not exactly what one might expect, or at least not this time. Amira is a film which plays with double meanings, through the screenplay and through images, telling about a teenager’s life through a tender and exuberant look. The director, of Swiss origins and now living in Paris, is member of the Jury this year and will present this short in the Special Programs section. This work is the most recent dealing with young people and their universe: La ménagerie de Betty, 100% Yssam and Raise your head. The protagonists are energetic and impulsive, they live in quite a harsh context at times, but they are presented in a sweet and clear way.

In her films Isabelle wants to show the different shades existing in forced relationship between people, often stigmatized, and try to chnge the often violent idea we have on sexuality or on love relationships, “because if we get used to perceiving such passions in the same way, we are convinced that this is the way they should be like. Maybe it is an abstract image but it represents my vision of sensuality. A sweetness which is not only modesty, but rather opposes the widespread violence existing in all human relationships. So, rather than presenting it once again in a stereotyped way, I prefer to offer a different image, which may create a space for a different sensibility”.
Her past experiences and her future projects show convergent interests, presented in different ways, but with an identifiable style, delicate, dynamic, “opened to the public” and able to investigate topical problems, such as ecology, ethic and society. « I think we are still clinging to the post-war ideals and values, as the dream of self-achievement. We have habits that we hardly question, like the wish to travel, our dietary habits, our sources of energy whose consequences on our ecosystem we seldom forget. I believe there are very important issues which impact our life directly, in a way that may upset the order of things, to defy the laws of nature. What I would like to do is to evoke particular situations from the daily life of ordinary people, who fight to achieve an objective, no matter how important this may be. They inspire others and bring hope in other poeople’s lives”.

As well as fiction films, she has also realized two documentaries : Organik HK and Stag in Hong Kong. « What I like in documentary is the agility of shooting. I like the fact that putting the camera into ordinary people’s living spaces alters their way to behave. Actually, in spite of what we could think, people reveal themselves to the lens, they show a side of their personality or some behaviour that we would not notice in a normal situation. ». Besides being a director, Isabelle Mayor is also a programmer and editor: “I had never thought of making films. I had always been attracted by images, either in painting, drawing, photography, but when I was a teenager I did not like American films, I found them too violent. On the other hand, I used to see many foreign films, especially Asian ones, because I had the wish to travel and they had the power of opening my mind to new realities and different stories. The choice of making films came only gradually. At the end of my master in journalism, during a training period at a regional TV company, they put a camera in my hands, but I soon realized that the way I wanted to film was not the rapid antcut one requested by TV schemes. Timetabling was tight and I did not feel ready to that kind of sacrifice, I preferred to take my time. Anyway, at the time I did not consider it as a specific passion, but then the wish of narrating pushed me towrds this universe. I believe in the power of cinema because there are films which have transformed me inside. It is a powerful way to share ideas, emotions and experiences”.