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Film Review: “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché”

By Adriana Kaplan

I went to see Pamela Green’s film, “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché”, and was truly inspired by it. This movie is beautifully narrated by Jodie Foster. It is about the first female film director, screenwriter, producer and studio owner Alice Guy-Blaché. She worked for Mr. Léon Gaumont, and while she was working for him, she went to her first film screening by the Lumières. She was very inspired and wondered if, instead of films documenting things, could they also tell stories? At age 23 she made her first film, “La Fée aux Choux (The Cabbage Fairy).” After that, she had a two-decade-long career in filmmaking. She made more than 1,000 films, including 150 talkies during the silent era. Her work includes comedies, westerns and dramas, as well as other films with groundbreaking subjects such as child abuse, immigration and female empowerment. She also made her place in history by making the earliest known surviving narrative film with an all-African-American cast.

What happened to Alice and where are all her films? Through much research (and a lot of phone calls) the mystery of Alice Guy-Blaché is solved in the documentary. There are great interviews with famous film directors, humor, fantastic visual effects and graphic design as well as real clips of her films.

This is a wonderfully inspiring movie. Anybody who loves film should go see it, especially female filmmakers and girls. And, oh yes, men and boys will love it too. Alice Guy-Blaché was an amazingly talented filmmaker and should be known by all. The film is playing at the Downtown Independent Theatre in Los Angeles from May 17-23, and at The Art Theatre in Long Beach from July 29-30. More information is available

Guest writer Adriana Kaplan, age 14, attends classes at “Excellence In Education” and lives in Hancock Park. This is her second story for the Buzz.

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