Inspiring women: Hannelore Cayre – the right to imagine

Inspiring women: Collaborative partnership with

MyFrenchLife™ - Inspiring women - header - - MidetPlus

On a summer’s day whilst holidaying in Brittany, Hannelore Cayre set out writing:

“Over three months as I sat on the beach, surrounded by my two children playing in the sand, I wrote the plot for a story. To describe it in one line, it’s about a lawyer who breaks the law and becomes a potential criminal.”

So the list on Hannelore’s business card gets longer: alongside jurist, she adds criminal lawyer, writer and film-maker. Her script for the 2009 film ‘Commis d’office’ eventually became a comic crime novel, which was followed by a second and third, making it a true crime trilogy.

Cliquez ici pour lire cet article en Français

Hannelore Cayre: “Why give up after such a good start?”

MyFrenchLife™ – - Hannelore Cayre - Hannelore - MidetPlus

Hannelore Cayre had made up her mind in deciding to adapt her first book into a screenplay. She had already tried her hand at short films: however, advancing from short to long films is another kind of adventure!

Sourcing funding, sponsors and subsidies; canvassing the story-line to producers and distributors; putting together actors and a team, and finding low-cost materials and even free sets is all part of the process.

In order for the film to hold up, permission also had to be granted by the Palais de Justice to film in their courtroom, where cases are judged by court-appointed lawyers and defendants are kept behind prison cell-type bars.

‘Impossible’ is not a word in Hannelore’s vocabulary

Having overcome many difficulties throughout her life. After three years balancing her budget to produce the film, it was finally released on the big screen, television and on DVD.

“I liked the real life adventure that cinema represents – despite the fictional storylines. Film is about the joy of working in a team and appreciating the bond amongst people brought together by the common goal of making a film.”

And her life before?

MyFrenchLife™ – - Hannelore Cayre - Commis d'office - film - MidetPlus

Before film making, Hannelore Cayre followed a more classic career path: law studies specialising in literary and artistic property. In this field, lawyers protect intellectual works, whether they are written, musical, visual or graphic, and make every effort to protect the rights of the author.

Clad in her lawyer’s robes, she worked in television, then in an office, where she met a young colleague specialising in another area of the law. She went on to marry him and his specialisation, plunging into the criminal underworld where human passions have no limits, violence has no boundaries and cruelty has no pity.

To get up to speed, Hannelore Cayre set about retraining herself: “I had never read a single line of criminal law before, so I threw myself into my Dalloz [a French publisher that specializes in legal matters] and I wrote revision cards just like a high-school student, in order to learn my new job.” And right before her eyes, she discovered a world characterised by misfits excluded from society, outcasts and ‘villains’ who are punished by the law.

And tomorrow?

Hannelore Cayre feels anxious about the future, undecided about the next project to pursue. In the meantime, she is writing a book and an essay and has also put forward a new screenplay. Even as the years go by, she knows she will continue to be a force to be reckoned with. Did we also mention that she plays a small role in her film? Perhaps another career path to follow.

Do you have multiple interests/career paths? Are you interested in criminal law? We’d love to hear from you in the comments box below!

Inspiring women: collaborative partnership with

[This article was originally written in French by Author: Vicky Sommet]

Here at MyFrenchLife™ we have pleasure in announcing our partnership with French site to produce this new series: ‘Inspiring women’. This article first appeared on and we have translated it into English for your added pleasure.

Mid&Plus takes a decidedly positive view of women in the world and produces wonderful portraits of inspiring women. This collaboration enables you to read this series of inspiring life stories in French and in English here on MyFrenchLife™ – MaVieFrançaise® magazine and also to visit for further inspiration. We hope that you enjoy it.


Discover these ‘Inspiring women’: Spirit . Strength . Stories .

Marie-Hélène Cossé – founder of MidetPlus
Claire Basler – artist
Zahia Ziouani – conductor
Alix Baboin-Jaubert – pilgrim
Tina Kieffer – journalist
Virginie Taittinger – femme champenoise
Zeina Egho – face of exile
Catherine Soulas-Baron – French etiquette


Image credits:
All images courtesy of
Translated by Artemis Sfendourakis

About the Contributor

Judy MacMahon

Experience FRANCE beyond the CLICHÉ with MyFrenchLife is for Curious Savvy Francophiles wherever you are. Meet Francophiles in France, online, and/or wherever you live. You’re very welcome to join us - Judy MacMahon -

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.