A few days ago Leticia Dolera, one of our favorite national actresses, received the City of Huesca award. And in his acceptance speech He talked about the need for feminism and the lack of recognition of women in the cinema. She mentioned one in particular: Alice Guy, a personality that would change everything. She was the inventor of cinematographic narration and directed more than a thousand films. So why haven't we heard of her?
As Leticia Dolera says, Alice Guy was the woman who invented film narration. She was the first person (male or female) who wrote and directed fiction films with sounds, colored dyes, actors of different races and even special effects. But we have not heard of her, since she signed with the name of her producer and did not use her real name. Because of course, at that time a woman could not access another position that was not the housewife.
How did it all begin
Alice could not afford to live without work, which was expected for a decent woman in the late nineteenth century
With the death of her father and her brother, Alice could not afford to live without work, which was expected for a decent woman in the late nineteenth century. She refused and began her typographic career for Léon Gaumont, one of the pioneers in the film industry. In that position He learned everything there is to know about the film industry, including marketing and public relations strategies, which led him to meet inventors like the Lumière brothers.
On May 22, 1895 he attended the presentation of the cinematographer Lumière, who recorded real-life scenes. And in the face of the exciting popular reaction, she found it boring and bland. But he immediately realized his true potential, incorporating fictional elements and telling stories in the movies. And so he launched his first work in 1896: The cabbage fairy (signed with the name of its boss and producer, Gaumont). A humorous film about a woman who sows babies in her garden.
And all this with his real name well hidden, so that his true gender was not known
Thus began her career as a director, being the first and only woman in the industry from 1896 to 1906. And all this hidden behind a pseudonym, so that its true gender was not known. This allowed him to compete with great historical figures of cinema such as Lumière and Méliès. He even dared with big blockbusters like The life of Christ, with sound and special effects. By the end of his life he had written, produced and directed more than a thousand films. How is it possible that he is not as well known as his contemporaries?
Owner of the largest studio in the United States
Her husband started a complaint against her, wanting to always be above and unleashing insane competitiveness
And she did not remain solely in her role as director. Alice Guy married Herbert Blaché and together they founded the Solax company, the largest studio in the United States before the Hollywood era. Of course, the only one run by a woman.
However, everything was in the name of her husband, since she could not sign the company papers or appear as the owner of the company. And when we say everything, we mean everything. Including the films directed by her. This initiated a very hard and insane competitiveness among the couple that ended with them. She did not hesitate and divorced, something unthinkable for a woman of the 20s. This ruined and socially embarrassed, not being able to make a movie again or recover as hers the ones he had produced under the name of her then ex-husband. "House of letters", a work directed by Alice Guy but offered by Herbert Blaché and written and directed by Madame Blaché.
Alice Guy, the first female director, inventor of film storytelling and pioneer of film history
Are you surprised that you haven't heard of her? She also worried about his inexplicable absence in the history of cinema. He spent a lot of time asking for corrections about his life and his work, hoping that one day it would be possible to be credited and recognized for the more than a thousand films I had done during 24 years of career. And it has been now, in recent months, when the name of her ex-husband has become blurred and his has appeared underneath: Alice Guy, the first female director, inventor of the cinematographic narration and pioneer of the history of cinema.
As Leticia Dolera says, “no social progress is achieved naturally. Everything must be fought and done through effort. And that's why we have to thank Feminism, from the female vote until there are female directors. Women we have to show more. We have to prove two, three, four times more than our fellow men. ” And Alice Guy did it, without a doubt.
In Jared | Eleven extraordinary women who hid history and we have discovered thanks to the cinema.