How could one of the first and most influential filmmakers be lost in cinema history?
Alice Guy-Blaché is was one of the first film directors and helped invent cinema as we know it, yet most people have never heard of her. Be Natural strives to fix this omission a century after Guy-Blaché stopped making films. The documentary is part biography and details Guy’s twenty year career as a director in France and the United States. The second part of the story is an investigation. Why has Guy-Blaché been forgotten, and what was her life like after she stopped making films?
Guy-Blaché was involved in the creation of over one thousand films. Whether she directed, produced, or wrote, she had a hand in a large portion of early cinema’s catalogue. She showed her skill in every film she made and pioneered film techniques we still use today.
Pamela B. Green, the film’s director, left no stone unturned when looking for the keys to Guy-Blaché’s life after her career was over. She found films that were once considered lost, tracked down interviews with Guy-Blaché’s family members and met with living relatives of hers, and discovered some of the reasons why Guy-Blaché’s name was nearly erased from film history.
The documentary’s editing shines. Its use of archival footage and graphics takes the viewer on a journey from the 1900s to the present day. The archival footage brings the viewer back to the time when Guy-Blaché was making her films. When we are brought into the present, while Green is researching what happened to Guy-Blaché, she uses graphics to illustrate what she is investigating. There is always something visually interesting or eye-catching on screen, making for an exciting and unique viewing experience.
Be Natural is an exploration of who tells our histories and why some stories are lost. Guy-Blaché’s life and work should never have been pushed to the side, and this remarkable documentary brings her back to the forefront. It is a must-see for every filmmaker, artist, and storyteller out there.
Visit the Be Natural website for more information and to find links to where the film can be streamed or acquired on disc. Follow Be Natural on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and follow Pamela B. Green on Instagram and Twitter.
Kara Headley is a third year undergraduate student at Michigan State University, majoring in Professional Writing and double minoring in Documentary Production and Environmental and Sustainability Studies.
Currently, Kara works for agnés films as social media manager and staff writer, for the MSU Innovation Center as a Communications/Videography Intern, and for the MSU Writing Center as a consultant. She frequently volunteers as Script Supervisor with Nain Rouge Films, a film company from her home town of Macomb, Michigan.