When the question is asked: “Why aren’t there any great female [enter profession] in history?” the answer is usually “because they have been written out!”
This is most certainly true about Alice Guy-Blache, who was one of the most innovative, astute, and prolific filmmakers in the world at the very beginning of the industry – let alone a female filmmaker. Much of her output has been lost or destroyed, and her fame obscured by time and indifference. A new documentary about her life and work may go some way to rectifying this.
Be Natural is a detailed biography of a forgotten genius. It pieces together interviews, film fragments, relics, and other flotsam and jetsam that has managed to float against the tide of gender arrogance. The biopic, narrated by Jodie Foster, shows the extraordinary contribution Guy-Blache made to film making, both artistic and technical, and the audacity with which all credit was seized from her and unfairly attributed to a bunch of men.
Reviewed by Rita Bratovich