Chicago Feminist Film Festival: ‘Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché’ Is An Important Documentary With a Few Problems

Alice Guy-Blaché was not only the first female director, but also one of the first film directors, period. But odds are you’ve never heard of her. She directed nearly 1,000 films (including what’s regarded as the first narrative film), founded her own movie studio, and shaped cinema today. But due to a film canon dictated by male power, her legacy was almost erased. Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché tells her story, but unfortunately forgets quite a few figures along the way.

Alice Guy-Blaché was a French film director and from 1896 to 1906, was most likely the only female film director in the world. She experimented with cinema, creating some of the first examples of close-up, hand-colored film, and synchronized sound. She wrote comedies and tragedies, and created films, such as The Consequences of Feminism, that interrogated gender roles. She was a working mother who ran her own movie studio. So how is it possible that so few people have heard of her?

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