Alice Guy Blache by Emmanuelle Gaume with Alexandra Lamy

Alice Guy Blache by Emmanuelle Gaume with Alexandra Lamy
Why a movie? Guy-Blaché is the definition of an industry pioneer, rising first through Gaumont Studios, then by becoming the founder and head of Solax Studios. By all accounts a cisgender woman, she nonetheless challenged masculine stereotypes, making big meaningful moves like casting women into then-typically male professions, like magicians or dog-trainers, and taking on the masculine roles herself, dressing as a man and stepping in front of the camera. Today, as we continue to mold our perspectives on how we conceptualize gender and sexuality in mainstream artr, Guy-Blaché’s story is both a feminist rendering of an inherently masculine system, and a subversion of how women were expected to perform both on- and off-screen

jeudi 2 janvier 2014

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Vinnie Burns as a Hindoo princess in "Woman of Mistery" Alice Blache Feature janvier 1914 "Be Natural" Alice Guy ©riginal Story by Al Slax,©2017https://www.facebook.com/alice.guyjr
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On July 31st, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced casting directors will finally receive a branch. Hopefully in the near future, this important field–one dominated by women–will finally be recognized with an OscarAnother unsung hero in the history of Hollywood is director Alice Guy-Blache. Guy was a young woman when the early technical advancements to create moving pictures were being discovered. Although she made hundreds of films, first in Paris and then in America, most of her work was uncredited and therefore has been lost.  In France, Guy trained as a typist and was hired by Leon Gaumont to work for his photography company. While she worked there, men came to show Gaumont the new technology they were working on. Guy convinced her boss to allow her to film some scenes to test out the equipment and in so doing, directed her first film, called The Cabbage Fairy. Gaumont sold 80 copies of the film and appointed Guy head of all movie picture production at Gaumont Film Company, as long as it did not interfere with her secretarial duties.So early in cinema’s rise was Guy that no official trade or title of filmmaker existed yet. Film historians marvel at how much responsibility Gaumont allowed her as a woman, but many conclude it was because he did not yet realize the impact cinema would have in the following years or on culture as a whole.Guy’s 1906 The Life of Christ was an ambitious undertaking for those days. It ran 35 minutes and featured over twenty-five sets and three hundred extras. Film critics and historians praise her use of lighting and depth of field.In 1907, Guy married Herbert Blache, who also worked for Gaumont. Once they were married, Guy was no longer expected to work, but she joined her husband when Gaumont appointed Blache as a production manager for the company’s operations in the United States.Guy gave birth to her first daughter Simone in 1908, but marriage and motherhood couldn’t stop her from working. Two years later, Guy and her husband partnered to open their own studio called Solax. Guy continued directing, had a second child, and kept working. Guy knew audiences wanted more actions and stunts, so she started providing more of them in her films. In a documentary about Guy, The Lost Garden (1995), it is said that most movies at the time would film models for their explosions, but Guy insisted on blowing up a real full-scale boat. Olga Petrova, one of Guy’s frequent actors, said she never raised her voice to actors. In fact, Guy was an early believer in natural acting techniques. She even had a large sign in her offices at Solax: “Be natural”.In 1918, Guy’s husband left her. Two years later, she directed her last film. In 1922, Guy and Blache officially divorced and Guy was forced to auction off her film studio. She returned to France, where she wrote stories and articles for magazines, frequently under male pen names. Much later in her life, Guy returned to the United States to try and track down some of her films, but since most of her films in the U.S were released under the distribution company’s name, rather than her studio’s, they were nearly impossible to locate.

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