Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché 3.0 stars

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché movie poster

A picture-postcard mutoscope flips us backwards through time, from modern day Hollywood to Fort Lee, NJ (cinema’s original hub), all the way back to a crowded Paris theatre, where, in 1895, Alice Guy-Blaché bore witness the birth of cinema. She was the first woman director, yet not even filmmaker and historian Peter Bogdanovich could identify Guy-Blaché by name. After two decades of service — and with over five hundred films to her credit — she disappeared from the scene. There are moments in this loving career exhumation in which filmmaker Pamela B. Green and her visual effects team put the pixels to good work, with CGI acting as a supple means of visual storytelling, digitally pasting swatches of Guy-Blaché’s films over extant locations. But technology eventually gets the best of Green; the maps and charts begin to fly past at a rate reminiscent of a WWII combat picture. This makes a great companion piece to the “Gaumont Treasures: 1897-1913,” a meticulously restored DVD collection that contains a good number of the director’s films. 2019.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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