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Quendrith Johnson


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How Jodie Foster Just Honored “First Director” Alice Guy-Blaché in Monaco

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

When Jodie Foster shows up for an event, this cinema icon does more than draw a crowd, she makes her own history. Such was the case in Monaco last week for Director Pamela B. Green’s documentary BE NATURAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ about the life and historic career of pioneering filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché.

JFosterthmb

Jodie Foster narrates this exploration, the subject of which many would say is the appearance of cinema’s first director in that she told actual human stories on film, synched sound, and colorized her footage as of 1896.

Held on Oct. 3, for Pink Ribbon Monaco, under the patronage of Prince Albert, this event featured co-writer Joan Simon, filmmaker Anne Fontaine, along with Foster and Green to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Monaco.

BeNat1sheet

The evening included rare high-quality restorations of Guy-Blaché silents and sound experiments at the Princess Grace Theatre, mirroring the US critical acclaim dating back to April.

BE NATURAL actually premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the Cannes Classics category.

The NY and LA events for this film were attended by Kathy Bates, Kiernan Shipka, Catherine Hardwicke, Julie Corman, Teri Shropshire, Cari Beauchamp, Patricia Riggen, with Q & A’s.

This Monaco event had special resonance for the venue, a theater built for Hollywood’s own Princess Grace under the auspices of her son’s philanthropic participation, with Hollywood royalty Jodie Foster, a self-made woman in the business since age 3, to address the legacy of “forgotten” helmer Alice Guy-Blaché, who was literally on the vanguard of motion picture innovation.

Emily Russell, Screenmancer PhotojournalistLast week,  to pay homage to this wonder in the land of sensational male-driven silents, Foster focused on the narrative quality of this early adopter, and the poignant depiction of story rather than the seminal special effects of the turn of the century made popular by “The Great Train Robbery” and similar exploitative action films of the period. Meanwhile, here is a glimpse into the resurrected historic place in film history of one seminal innovator. 

 

First? A quick synopsis…

When Alice Guy-Blaché completed her first film in 1896 Paris, she was not only the first female filmmaker, but one of the first directors ever to make a narrative film.

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché follows her rise from Gaumont secretary to her appointment as head of production a year later, and her subsequent illustrious 20-year career in France and in the United States, as the founder of her own studio and as writer, director, and/or producer of 1,000 films—after which she was veritably erased from history. Until now….

 

Directed by Pamela B. Green, the film is narrated by Jodie Foster.

 

 

Screenmancer International Producer Sonia Machado-Hines, her husband actor Terence Bernie Hines, and Screenmancer Photojournalist Emily Russell (pictured above)  were on hand to capture this historic event.

Russell’s images are included here, as well as a living link library of BE NATURAL’S recent press to help resurrect the Guy-Blaché legacy. Some links are live, others follow as archive. (Obviously, there is tremendous interest.)


Sonia Machado-Hines, Screenmancer International Producer. NEW YORK TIMES: September 6, 2019:  Alice Guy-Blaché featured as part of Manohla Dargis' Overlooked series https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/06/obituaries/alice-guy-blache-overlooked.html

LE MONDE: August 12, 2019: Emmanuelle Lequeux's article on Alice Guy-Blaché mentions Be Natural:
https://www.lemonde.fr/festival/article/2019/08/12/la-cineaste-alice-guy-pres-de-mille-films-et-cent-ans-d-oubli_5498658_4415198.html

LIBÉRATION: June 5, 2019: Laure Murat's review:
https://www.liberation.fr/debats/2019/06/05/la-pellicule-invisible-d-alice-guy_1731901



SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: August 1, 2019: Paul Byrne’s review: 
https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/gold-dust-retelling-of-first-female-movie-maker-s-story-20190731-p52chs.html

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: June 18, 2019: Mick LaSalle's review:
https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/movies-tv/review-be-natural-illuminates-a-forgotten-female-screen-pioneer

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: May 23, 2019: Michael Phillips's review: 
https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/movies/ct-mov-women-directors-siskel-chi-film-society-0524-story.html

THE NEW YORK TIMES: April 25, 2019: AO Scott’s review: 
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/25/movies/be-natural-untold-story-alice-guy-blache-review.html?login=email&auth=login-email

THE NEW YORK TIMES: April 26, 2019: Elizabeth Weitzman’s feature ran with artwork:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/26/movies/alice-guy-blache-be-natural.html

LEONARD MALTIN: April 19, 2019: Leonard Maltin’s review:
https://leonardmaltin.com/be-natural-a-woman-rewrites-film-history/

LOS ANGELES TIMES: April 18, 2019: Katie Walsh’s review:
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-be-natural-alice-guy-blache-review-20181120-story.html

DEADLINE: May 15, 2018: Pete Hammond's review from Cannes:
http://deadline.com/2018/05/be-natural-director-pamela-b-green-alice-guy-blache-cannes-studio-1202390265/

A.V. CLUB: August 24, 2019: Katie Rife chooses Alice Guy-Blaché for AVQ&A "What’s your favorite piece of pre-20th-century pop culture?" https://www.avclub.com/what-s-your-favorite-piece-of-pre-20th-century-pop-cult-1837489613

MOVIE CITY NEWS: August 23, 2019: Gary Dretzka's review: http://moviecitynews.com/2019/08/the-dvd-wrapup-all-is-true-patrick-swayze-harder-they-come-aniara-alice-guy-blache-akio-jissoji-orcas-ronja-walking-dead-more/

TOPEKA CAPITAL-JOURNAL: August 24, 2019: Phil Anderson's article mentions Be Natural: https://www.cjonline.com/news/20190824/ottawa-boasts-worlds-oldest-continuously-operating-movie-theater

SMITHSONIAN MAG: August 22, 2019: Jason Daley's article about Be Natural: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/documentary-explores-pioneering-woman-director-written-out-film-history-180972956/

COMBUSTIBLE CELLULOID: August 20, 2019: Jeffrey M. Anderson's review: http://www.combustiblecelluloid.com/2019/be_natural_alice_guy_blache.shtml

ARTNET NEWS: August 20, 2019: Sarah Cascone's review: https://news.artnet.com/art-world/alice-guy-blache-pioneering-female-filmmaker-1629004

SCREENHUB: August 1, 2019: Sarah Ward’s review: 
https://www.screenhub.com.au/news-article/reviews/film/sarah-ward/be-natural-the-untold-story-of-alice-guy-blache-258511

DETROIT NEWS: July 26, 2019: Tom Long's review:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.detroitnews.com/amp/1821142001

INSIDE EDITION: May 16, 2019: Johanna Li’s segment featuring interview with Pamela Green: 
https://www98.insideedition.com/who-was-alice-guy-blache-20th-century-female-filmmaker-gets-spotlight-new-documentary-529

BUSTLE: April 24, 2019 
https://www.bustle.com/p/how-be-natural-executive-producer-jodie-foster-is-helping-to-honor-the-legacy-of-this-forgotten-film-pioneer-16900759

HYPERALLERGIC: April 26, 2019: Beandrea July’s interview with Pamela Green:
https://hyperallergic.com/497079/be-natural-the-untold-story-of-alice-guy-blache-pamela-g-green/



REFINERY 29: May 3, 2019: 
https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/05/231644/alice-guy-blache-first-woman-director-documentary-true-story

HELLO GIGGLES: April 19, 2019: Mara Reinstein's story on Alice and the documentary, features commentary by Pamela Green, Jodie Foster and Geena Davis.
https://hellogiggles.com/reviews-coverage/movies/alice-guy-blache-documentary-interview/

CBS NEWS THE SIT DOWN: April 23, 2019: DJ Sixsmith’s interview with Pamela Green:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyauQ9OZLnE

THE LOS ANGELES BEAT: April 24, 2019: Simone Snaith’s review:
https://thelosangelesbeat.com/2019/04/movie-review-be-natural-honors-highly-influential-first-female-filmmaker/

NORTH JERSEY RECORD: April 24, 2019: Jim Beckerman’s interview with Pamela Green:
https://www.northjersey.com/story/entertainment/2019/04/24/alice-guy-blache-pioneering-woman-filmmaker-honored-documentary/3410031002/

NEW YORK POST PAGE SIX: April 24, 2019: Cindy Adams highlights the film in Page Six coverage online and in print. 
https://pagesix.com/2019/04/22/neil-patrick-harris-reveals-his-biggest-hosting-disaster/

THE NEW YORK TIMES: April 20, 2019: Kathryn Shattuck highlights the film in The Week In Arts. 
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/20/arts/the-week-in-arts.html

Additional Coverage Archive for BE NATURAL

MOVIE NATION: April 17, 2019: Roger Moore’s 4 out of 4 star review:
https://rogersmovienation.com/2019/04/17/documentary-review-jodie-foster-narrates-be-natural-the-untold-story-of-alice-guy-blache-the-first-female-filmmaker/

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: April 11, 2019: Alex Cramer’s coverage of the LA Premiere ran with quotes from Jodie Foster.
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jodie-foster-plans-keep-acting-well-her-80s-1201131

MOVIE-BLOGGER.COM: David Ferguson’s coverage of the film.
https://www.movie-blogger.com/be-natural-the-untold-story-of-alice-guy-blache-2019/

NEXT TRIBE: May 3, 2019: Marcia Yerman’s feature on the film ran with artwork
https://nexttribe.com/alice-guy-blache/ PRI: April 22, 2019: Allison Herrera’s interview with Pamela Green:
https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-04-22/ready-her-close-guy-blach-was-film-pioneer-lost-history

FILM DINGHY: May 2, 2019: Doris Toumarkino’s review:
https://www.filmdinghy.com/post/be-natural-the-untold-story-of-alice-guy-blach%C3%A9

WOLF ENTERAINMENT GUIDE: April 26, 2019: William Wolf’s review:
http://www.wolfentertainmentguide.com/viewpage.aspx?cat=film&record=10696

NJ.COM: April 27, 2019: Amy Kuperinsky’s interview with Pamela Green:
https://www.nj.com/entertainment/2019/04/alice-guy-blache-was-the-first-female-movie-mogul-and-ran-a-nj-studio-why-was-she-forgotten.html

FILM SCHOOL RADIO: April 19, 2019: Mike Kaspar’s interview with Pamela Green:
http://filmschoolradio.com/april-19-be-natural-the-untold-story-of-alice-guy-blache-director-pamela-b-green/

VULTURE: April 18, 2019: The film is highlighted in 18 Great Things to Do in NY.
https://www.vulture.com/article/things-to-do-nyc-today-this-weekend.html

THE POP BREAK: April 17, 2019: Marisa Carpico’s review:
https://thepopbreak.com/2019/04/17/be-natural-the-untold-story-of-alice-guy-blache-review-an-overwhelming-but-necessary-piece-of-film-history/

TALKHOUSE: April 19, 2019: Pamela Green’s Op-Ed “How I set Out in Search of Cinematic Mystery – and Found Myself.” 
https://www.talkhouse.com/how-i-set-out-in-search-of-a-cinematic-mystery-and-found-myself/

NEW YORK MAGAZINE: April 15-28 issue: David Edelstein highlights the film in 25 Things To Do in print

92 Y REEL PIECES: April 12, 2019: The film was included in their April newsletter.

HARTFORD COURANT: April 22, 2019: Susan Dunne highlights the film in ‘Focus on French Cinema.’
https://www.courant.com/ctnow/movies/hc-ctnow-movie-french-cinema-greenwich-stamford-0425-20190422-el7ckozks5cabinq2veie3qxry-story.html

INTERNATIONAL POLICY DIGEST: April 22, 2019: David Ferguson’s review:
https://intpolicydigest.org/2019/04/20/review-be-natural-the-untold-story-of-alice-guy-blache/

THE KNOCKTURNAL: April 20, 2019: Shura Adams’ review:
https://theknockturnal.com/film-review-be-natural-the-untold-story-of-alice-guy-blache/

LOUIS PROYECT: April 19, 2019: Louis Proyect’s review:
https://louisproyect.org/2019/04/19/instant-dreams-be-natural/ EXTRATV.COM: April 10, 2019:

Coverage of the premiere ran with quotes from Jodie Foster. http://extratv.com/2019/04/10/why-jodie-foster-says-acting-isnt-whats-in-my-dna

For more exciting details about this documentary, and where to watch it, visit https://benaturalthemovie.com/ for further information.

Special thanks to Jodie Foster & Pamela Green for the invitation.

# # #

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About Quendrith Johnson

Johnson Quendrith
LA Correspondent for fest21.com & filmfestivals.com

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