A Film Tribute to Alice Guy-Blaché
WIFT (Women in Film and TV) and the New Zealand Film Archive pay tribute to Alice Guy-Blaché (1875-1968), one of cinema's fearless pioneers, a remarkable woman whose films influenced an entire art form. Guy-Blaché was the first female film director and arguably the first director of a narrative film. The Lost Garden (1995), the critically acclaimed documentary on Guy-Blaché, will be presented along with some of her short films.
Guy-Blaché was one of the first directors to experiment with storytelling through narrative film, with her 1896 production La Fee aux choux / The Cabbage Fairy.
The French filmmaker directed and produced over 300 films in her lifetime, initially as studio head of Gaumont in Paris (1896-1906) and later for her own company Solax in the US. She tackled every genre including trick films, using techniques usually only attributed to Georges Méliés.
Guy-Blaché returned to France from the US in 1922 after the onslaught of the large Hollywood studios made it difficult for independent studios to make a living. She was without prints of her films and spent much of the rest of her life struggling to prove to others what she had done. At the age of 78 she was finally recognised and made a Knight of the French Legion of Honour.
The Lost Garden: The Life and Cinema of Alice Guy-Blaché (1995), a documentary produced for the National Film Board of Canada, looks at Guy-Blaché’s life and accomplishments. The film received Quebec’s Gemeaux Award for Best Documentary.
The film is presented alongside a selection of Guy-Blaché films housed in the New Zealand Film Archive, all beautifully restored. Films include La Statue / The Statue (1905), in which two clowns struggle to control an automaton that has broken free from its control system, and La Course à la saucisse / The Sausage Race (1906), which features a dog being chased by a crowd of people after stealing a long chain of sausages.
Join us at the Film Archive for an evening of fascinating cinema. 6pm, Wednesday March 6. Nibbles will be provided.
Phone 499 FILM (3456)