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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
First Female Filmmaker, Take a Bow!
by Betty Jo Tucker

Most movie buffs like me recognize the names of important filmmakers at the beginning of cinema history back in the late 1800s – names like Thomas Edison and the Lumiere brothers. But when asked about Alice Guy-Blaché, typical responses are “Who?” or “I never heard of her.”

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, a remarkable documentary directed by Pamela B. Green and narrated by Jodie Foster – is helping to correct this injustice. And what a wonderful experience it is to be taken on Green’s tenacious journey to uncover the story of the first female director, screenwriter, producer and studio owner!   

This revealing documentary includes fascinating interviews, film clips, and photographs that make Guy-Blaché come to life on screen. We even get to see and hear segments of a live interview with her. Packed with such valuable information, Green’s film should be viewed more than once, in my opinion. It’s almost too much to digest in one sitting. After all, Guy-Blaché boasts 1,000 films to her credit and worked in two countries: France and the USA.

Much of her work had been lost or destroyed, but many of her films have been found and restored. She worked on various genres including comedies, dramas and westerns. Plus, her poetic eye didn’t shy away from controversial themes such as child/spouse abuse, female empowerment and immigration. She also did a few music videos. (Seeing is believing!) The clips shown in Be Natural tease us and make us want more.

I am also impressed with the research by Green and her crew, especially the way they used Guy-Blaché’s family tree. Contacts were made with her living descendants, which led to finding significant photos, facts and clips -- and make a very crowded map when illustrated on screen.      

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché offers a treasure trove of cinema history.  It is a must-see for movie buffs.                      

Movie great Alice Guy-Blaché

made many films back in the day.

How could she be so long denied

her deserved fame?” film buffs have cried.

 

Before Hollywood came to be,

Alice was making history.

A trailblazer, she played with sound

and color ways she also found.

 

Write, direct and producer too.

Special effects she knew how to do.

The first woman to take a chance

doing films, even ones with dance.

 

And yet her name is not well-known

as “Be Natural” now has shown.

Why has Alice been so ignored?

This film reveals where truth is stored.

(Released by Zeitgeist Films. VOD/DVD released by Kino Lorber. Not rated by MPAA. This film is now available on all major VOD platforms including iTunes and Amazon and will be available on DVD on August 20, 2019).


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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