Director of the week: Alice Guy-Blache
June 25, 2021
Touching story of a marvelous film director Alice Guy-Blaché, whose name was almost completely erased from cinema history.
Lumière brothers, Georges Méliès and Thomas Edison come up to our minds when we talk about cinematic inventions. But the name of Alice Guy-Blaché must stand in line with them. She was one of the pioneers of making staged films, using close-ups, coloring black and white tape and experimenting with a combination of pictures and music.

At the beginning of her career, Alice was working as a stenographer for the French company "Gaumont", where she got to know cinema and, moreover, made her first film "La Fée aux choux, ou La Naissance des enfants" in 1896. According to experts, this one-minute movie might be one of the earliest or even the earliest feature film in history.

Being a manager of a film production department in "Gaumont" company, Alice Guy-Blaché was writing scripts, producing and making films. She was not afraid of experiments, that's why her comedies and dramas had absolute success.

After several mishaps in the homeland, Guy-Blaché decided to move with her husband to the USA, where two years later she founded a film studio "Solax", which was the first production company in the world owned and managed by a woman. Alice claimed, "there is no job in the cinema a woman cannot do". As a director, producer and scriptwriter, she released successful films. For instance, a comedy "Les résultats du féminisme"(1906), in which men and women changed places and the first movie with black actors during the time when white people refused to work with them on the same stage.
In 1913 upon her husband's request, Guy-Blaché appointed him as the president of her company. But being interested only in glory and self-expression, he almost destroyed "Solax", when launching his own studio. In 1920 Alice and her husband released her last film "Tarnished Reputations", that she came back to France, where she couldn't get a job because she had already been forgotten.

Unfortunately, this week we cannot share with you any movie recommendations. The majority of Alice Guy-Blaché credits were assigned to male colleagues who had worked with her or learned from her. For the rest of her life she tried to restore rights for her movies and name in the history of cinema. But as a consequence of losing most of the documents and films themselves, she couldn't get justice in life.

In 2018 a documentary film "Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché" was released, where a story of life and art of a forgotten trailblazer is being told. We do recommend you to watch it if you'd like to learn more about this inspiring woman!
Authors: Anastasiya Chursanava and Velina Peshkur;
Translator: Arina Bokach