Be Natural

Be Natural

The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché
October 13, 2019

This event occurred as part of the 19/20 Hop Film season. This is an archived view.

Narrated by Jodie Foster, this tribute/detective story profiles a remarkable but largely forgotten female film pioneer who directed and produced a thousand films!


How could Alice Guy-Blaché, a contemporary of Edison, the Lumières and Méliès—who wrote, directed or produced a thousand films, 150 with synchronized sound, and who had a career longer than any of them—reach the heights of fame and then be forgotten by an industry she helped create? This crucial intervention in film history gives credit where credit is due.

In 1896, at age 23, Alice Guy-Blaché, then the secretary to French film pioneer Léon Gaumont, directed her first movie, The Cabbage Fairy, among the first narrative films made. Known for her inventive camera and editing techniques, incisive cultural commentary and excellent humor, she influenced young Sergei Eisenstein and later Alfred Hitchcock, and by 1908 she was running her own movie production studio, Solax, in Fort Lee, N.J. Guy-Blaché helped to invent and refine the language of cinema while tackling various hot-button issues of her day, from immigration to planned parenthood.

Guy-Blaché's landmark achievements have been obscured through decades of film history focusing on male genius, but this energetic film—featuring testimony from Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins, Kathryn Bigelow and more—is "an incredibly necessary tonic, reestablishing the prominent role of women at the advent of cinema, when anything was possible" (Los Angeles Times). D: Pamela B. Green, US, 2019

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“The fact that Guy-Blaché isn’t a household name is due pure and simply to sexism. Thank goodness Be Natural is here to set a brilliant, distinguished, invaluable record straight.”

The Washington Post

The 19th amendment, which (finally) granted American women the right to vote, was ratified by Congress on August 18, 1920. In celebration of 100+ years of women's voices, Hopkins Center Film is...

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