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Critic’s Choice: ‘Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers’ series gives Alice Guy-Blaché her due

The 1912 film “A Fool and his Money,” one of hundreds from the French-born director Alice Guy-Blaché, considered the world’s first female filmmaker, will be shown Sunday at the Egyptian Theater.
(Kino Lorber)
Film Critic

The French-born director Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968) is widely considered the world’s first female filmmaker, which makes it all the more regrettable that her enormous output — more than 1,000 films that she wrote, produced or directed over the course of her career — remains so little known.

The invaluable Kino Lorber/Library of Congress series “Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers” sets out to rectify that with a Sunday screening of three silent shorts that Guy-Blaché directed. Her range and adventurousness are on display in “Algie the Miner” (1912), a gay-themed western; “A Fool and His Money” (1912), a comedy that represents one of the earliest films to feature an all-black cast; and “The Ocean Waif” (1916), a melodrama about a novelist who seeks a quiet place to write and finds far more than he expected.

The Guy-Blaché program will be followed by screenings of the author Zora Neale Hurston’s groundbreaking 1920s footage documenting living conditions in the South; director Marion E. Wong’s “The Curse of Quon Gwon: When the Far East Mingles With the West” (1916), the first film directed by an Asian American woman; and Lita Lawrence’s “Motherhood: Life’s Greatest Miracle” (1925), the rare silent to address then-taboo subjects including birth control and abortion.

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‘The Films of Alice Guy-Blaché and Others’

Where: Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles

When: July 29, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $12 ($8 for members)

Info: americancinemathequecalendar.com

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justin.chang@latimes.com

@JustinCChang

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