Three Works by Isabel Pagliai
Isabel Pagliai gives a voice to those not normally portrayed on screen, letting the camera be the medium for them represent themselves. She is striving to create a cinema in which children can tell their own stories, which she then gentle heightens accordingly. The result is a refreshing frankness. It is more than just telling; it is about a change in perspectives. Her camera is sometimes discreet and capable of capturing intimacy, recording thoughts, memories, desires, sometimes whispered, sometimes questioned in conversations only nibbled at or suggested by a gaze that alludes to elsewhere. At other times, it is more impudent, as coarse as the outpourings of confessions or swearwords. In any case, it always shows a lyrical respect for the delicacy of a particular age, its mystery, and hidden tenderness.
The backgrounds are those Pagliai knows from her childhood or are linked to the people she recognizes as close to her. Although she is very careful to capture the moment, she often also approaches past and the present, myth and reminiscence, the dimensions of memory and anecdote.
Pagliai questions the language of young souls, whether explicit and irreverent as in ISABELLA MORRA (2015), silent like the gestures and the forest in ORFEO (2017), or in a combination of audacity and shamefulness in TENDRE (2020). She recognizes its rhymes and weaves words and murmurs into the sounds of the space that envelops the characters.
Often concentrated on capturing the sensitivity of the moment and the small changes in the spirit through expressions, Pagliai’s camera records time through variations in light, the movement produced by the wind and shadows. The space around the characters, be it the suburban space of her first short film or the wide natural spaces of the last two works is an environment in motion, a living and connected atmosphere. It is the same sensitive camera that can be recognized in the works of Damien Manivel and Maureen Fazendeiro, for whom she worked as director of photography.
The narrative follows the path the camera suggests: it does not pursue a linearity but proceeds by paying attention to small revelations, the sparks produced by different expressions, to changes of light and spirit, to the secret revelations of the atmosphere that surrounds the characters. It is not interested in revealing the mystery, but rather contemplating it and listening to it so as to celebrate its poetry.
The Viennale is proud to celebrate a young talent so sensitive to the time of childhood and its complex humanity. (Patrick Holzapfel)
In the presence of Isabel Pagliai.