Sometimes the people who have the most impact on us are not known to us. But the fact that they were forgotten does not mean that they did not left big marks on history.
The person I choose to write this blog on is someone only few have heard about, but certainly everyone should have: Alice Guy Blaché. She was a french director and one of the first people to ever use narrative in cinema after attending the Lumiere screening at the Grand Cafe in 1895 (Blaché 1986: https://isbnsearch.org/isbn/9780810831049 ) because she saw something in this new invention, the “cinematographe”, that barely anyone saw at first: the power to create stories. Her movies were also the first ones to use zoom ins and she experimented with audio very early. This visionary attribute is firstly one of the many reasons why I admire her but also how her path towards 20 years of movie making began. By suggesting short movies as a way to sell more cameras to her boss at the age of 23 she went from being a secretary to head of production and directing at “Gaumont” for 10 years, before she was forced to leave everything behind and move to the US. But she made the best of the situation and created her own production company SOLAX in 1910 and shot over 1000 movies (McMahan,2002/ https://isbnsearch.org/isbn/9780826451576)
Another aspect is the fact that she literally grew up between two worlds: In a rich colony in Chile and in France. Her family lost everything eventually but nevertheless it did not stop her from finding something she was passionate about and filling her life with it.
As a woman she had to work double as hard to be recognized but despite the difficulties she still made beautiful and innovative movies that influenced a lot of people, especially woman who made 60 percent of the audience during her time (McMahan, 2002).
I especially admire her style of leading a production. She used the director unit system, a hierarchical but cooperative way to shoot movies ten years before others adapted to it and always followed her own style of directing. Movies like “The consequences of feminism” were way ahead of her time. Furthermore, she was also a pioneer of the Location House Style, meaning the conscious use of indoor and outdoor locations. She lived in times where a lot of things were developing and she was aware of that and wanted to be a part of it which also makes me feel connected to her because I have a similar feeling here in Berlin.
However, all of this are only small details about her but might help to understand how hard she must have worked to follow her passion. She build everything she achieved herself. I think she did very important work and would have deserved to be acknowledged for it during her lifetime but through her innovative work and the people she trained (Bossetti, Feuillade, Menessier) she lives on and finally got re discovered during the past years. https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/12/15/alice-guy-blache-film-director/ ). Unfortunately it was very hard to find all informations on this incredible woman because only few of her movies have been preserved but it motivates me that we live in times that are ready to reevaluate history and have a different perspective on it.