I may be among the few who has actually heard of Alice Guy-Blache. Even if I’d never seen one of her films, known their titles, or her extraordinary history in the annals of motion pictures, from the earliest flickers, through serious filmmaking.
Even, in my opinion, the finest book published on the silent cinema, Kevin Brownlow’s The Parade’s Gone By (if you don’t have a copy find one) relegates her to footnotes.
Whether by poor or incomplete research by some of the most notable authors dedicated to the era, or attempts to re-write the history of film, and possibly make it more male-oriented, Ms Guy-Blache had been relegated to the veritable dust bin of history.
Fortunately, Kino Lorber is releasing a documentary, Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache, that I feel is one of the finest ever created on motion picture history.
It’s an impassioned, incredibly researched document of feature length, in which director Pamela B. Green makes an epic attempt to put the situation right.
As narrated by Jodie Foster, the film is packed with documents, films, and video and audio commentaries, and interviews.
It’s a majestic, sometimes etherial, showpiece obviously comes from love, respect, and a great deal of archival research and documentation.
Interestingly, for a film that rides the waves between silent cinema and our digital era, Be Natural is a film that makes use of every technological asset and tool available to tell its story.
I would urge everyone with an interest in film, to grab a copy – a bargain at $20 street.
Image – n/a
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
Very Highly Recommended