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Directed by Pamela B. Green

United States 2018 103 mins. In English, French with English subtitles

Alice Guy-Blaché, the first woman filmmaker, is nowhere near as widely known as her male counterparts, both in her hometown of Paris (Lumière Brothers, Georges Méliès, et al.) and in the US, where she lived from 1910. Founding the largest film studio in Fort Lee, NJ (the center of American filmmaking before Hollywood), her Solax Studios boasted popular, elegant productions, some of which survive today. Documentarian Pamela B. Green seeks to uncover the reasons why Guy-Blaché—who quit filmmaking in 1922—was so much less regarded than her male peers. Narrated by Jodie Foster, the film thrillingly tells Guy-Blaché’s story, from her start as an assistant to famed producer Léon Gaumont in Paris, to her trailblazing career in America, to her later years. Featuring interviews with myriad well-known contemporary filmmakers—who have all gone through schooling and careers in which Guy-Blaché’s story was largely untold—and archival interviews with the filmmaker herself, Be Natural is a crucial intervention in film history and a deeply entertaining story of perseverance in the face of deep biases.

Appears in: Weekend Engagements