A woman to Know: Alice Guy Blache

My youth, my lack of experience, my sex all conspired against me. — Alice

(image via Women Film Pioneers Project)

She directed the first pre-Hollywood narrative film, shaped major voices of French cinema, founded her own studio in 1910, experimented beyond silent films with 1,000 motion pictures and worked with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Louis Lumiere — so why is Alice ommitted from so many cinema textbooks and forgotten in legacy remembrances?

That's because she battled sexism her entire life, from picking up the secretarial tasks at her own production company to sending male proxies to wrangle her stars' outsized egos. After climbing uphill for much of her career, Alice retired in 1922, fatigued by the prejudice she faced on-set. She secluded herself in France and rewriting movie scripts as novels-to-publish — she died in 1968, just as a new generation of women filmmakers began to rediscover her work and follow her hard-blazed trail.

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