As part of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival will present a series of films by one of the filmmaking pioneers, Alice Guy, who is heralded as the first female filmmaker in the history of cinematography. She started working as a secretary for Léon Gaumont, where she was gradually allowed to make short films, but only on the condition that her filmmaking does not interfere with her proper job. She soon became a production manager and a filmmaker who excelled in making fiction films.
In her films, Guy often delved into female topics, emphasising the erotic appeal of women, as can be seen, for example, in Miss Dundee et ses chiens savants. In her other films (e.g. Les Résultats du féminisme), she takes sides with feminist authors when focusing on standards applied by the male part of the society. One of the popular subjects of early filmmaking were music hall performances. They also appear as the setting of Alice Guy’s films Les Fredaines de Pierette, Félix Mayol, La Polka des trottins or Dranem, Le Vrai Jiu-Jitsu. In the film La Fée aux choux, she plays around with the traditional French superstition that boys are born in cabbage and girls arise from roses. With a fair amount of dark humour, she made Chirurgie fin de siècle, depicting a surgery during which a patient is cut up only to be sewn together again. Guy’s films will be shown in blocks as their running time is less than a couple of minutes each.
The Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival will be held in Czech Republic from 24th to 29th October, 2013.