The Musée d'Orsay and Gaumont Archives invite you to discover the works of Alice Guy (1873-1968), the world's first woman filmmaker.
Alice Guy was a pioneer. The first woman film director and first woman producer with The Cabbage Fairy (1896), she started at Gaumont in 1894 as a secretary, before moving very quickly to be "head of the cinematographic department". She was involved in all aspects of the industry: she directed the films and supervised screenplays, distribution, sets and costumes. She worked closely with inventors and engineers like the Lumière brothers and Léon Gaumont, Jean-Baptiste Marey and Georges Demenÿ, and rubbed shoulders with leading figures in political, cultural and social life.
Between 1896 and 1920, first in France and then in the United States, where she set up her own studios, she produced more than 1,000 films. These ranged from short films of less than a minute's duration to full-length features, and included experiments in colour, synchronised sound and talkies that testify to her interest in every aspect of the evolving film business. She moved to America in 1907 and set up her companies "The Solax" and "The Film Supply Co", had two studios built, ran her own theatre company "The Solax Stock" and employed the girls from the Ziegfeld Follies and soldiers from the American army as extras. She also used close up shots, wild animals, exploding boats and car chases, and filmed inside Sing Sing prison. She produced up to one full length and ten short films per month in a remarkable variety of genres including comedy, adventure, drama, westerns, fairy tales, fantasy, suspense, filmed operas, detective stories, documentaries, war films, historical films, full length and short films, in black and white and in colour, silent films and talkies, from The Life of Christ to Edgar Allan Poe.
Along with some of her American films, the four programmes present a significant number of her French films, recently restored by Gaumont, which she directed, produced and supervised herself.
In order to present these silent films in their original format, the pupils from the improvisation classes of Vincent Lê Quang, Riccardo Del Fra and Hervé Sellin from the Paris National Conservatory for Music and Dance will provide musical accompaniment.
The screenings will be introduced by film critics, archivists and film historians.
In collaboration with Gaumont and the Conservatoire national de musique et de danse de Paris.