Entertainment

Alice Guy, pioneer of cinema, will find the light on the big screen


The Frenchwoman was the first female filmmaker in the world. To do it justice, Pamela B. Green will devote a biopic to the one who made more than 1000 films.

Among the names that marked the beginnings of cinema, from Daguerre to Étienne Marey or the Lumière Brothers, Alice Guy is missing. The first female filmmaker to fall into oblivion, while her work was able to impose an artistic and creative dimension on the multiple inventions of her time. What was only a matter of machines became lair of the imagination, helping to elevate cinema to the rank of the 7th art.

To give it all the attention it deserves, Pamela B. Green will devote a biopic to it, according to the specialized site Deadline.com. The director had already paid tribute to him with the documentary Be Natural, the hidden story of Alice Guy-Blaché, crowned by two nominations at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, a symbolic year marking the fiftieth anniversary of the disappearance of Alice Guy. Journalist and founder of cine-woman.fr, Véronique Le Bris created an Alice-Guy prize, “which highlights the talent of contemporary directors in line with the first of them“.

Born on 1er July 1873 in the Paris region and died in the United States in March 1968, the filmmaker devoted herself to the 7e art, by chance. She joined the Comptoir Général de la Photographie as secretary in 1894, bought a year later by Léon Gaumont. A whole horizon opens up at its feet, that of cinema. Completely self-taught, she begins to take an interest in this new medium. “ Initially, Léon Gaumont made machines and what interested him was to sell them. To do this he made demonstrations with short films to show the interest of his devices », Explained to Figaro Martine Kaufmann, responsible for the retrospective Alice Guy’s universe that the Musée d’Orsay devoted to her in 2011. Having a keen sense of business, Alice Guy participates in the marketing of Leon Gaumont’s finds. Initially, what comes from economic considerations becomes a real passion. While the first films were used as demonstration material, Alice Guy decides to go further by introducing fiction.

Over 1000 films

With her first cinematographic experiences and an insatiable curiosity, the young woman touches on all genres, all themes. She was interested in the work of the greatest, from Méliès to Etienne-Jules Marey, including the Lumière, applying their research. She herself knows how to be original and discovering, like the day when she understood the virtues of the close-up. An inveterate Stakhanovist, Alice Guy’s production includes more than 1,000 short and silent films. In its first realization The cabbage fairy, the fairy turns into a seller of children, not hesitating to exhibit them as vulgar products. In The stepmother, loosely based on Balzac, it features a brutal stepmother and relays the complex relationships of a family. In Opera Avenue, she experiments with special effects. With The Life of Christ, a 34-minute blockbuster, at a time when films did not exceed six or seven, she explored filming outdoors. In the United States, where she moved in 1907 with her husband Herbert Blaché and founded her own production house, the Solax Company, Alice Guy made her way through all genres, from western to fantasy. Eclectic, Alice Guy’s work was able to impose an artistic and creative dimension on the multiple inventions of her time. What was only a matter of machines became lair of the imagination, helping to raise the cinema to the rank of 7e Art.

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