Exposición: Las hijas de Alice Guy: Reimaginando una historia del cine
La historia del cine es, como tantas otras, una historia de discriminación de género. Ya desde sus albores, la pionera y cineasta Alice Guy Blaché (1873-1968) fue víctima de esta omisión perpetuada hacia la labor artística de las mujeres. Coetánea de figuras relevantes como las de los hermanos Lumière o la de George Méliès, Guy filmó la primera ficción narrativa de la historia en 1896, adelantándose a todos ellos. No obstante, pese a que fundó varias productoras y dirigió más de 1.000 cortometrajes —siendo influencia decisiva para autores de la talla de Alfred Hitchcock—, gran parte de su obra desapareció y su nombre fue borrado de la historia oficial prácticamente hasta nuestros días.
Su caso podría aplicarse al de otras tantas directoras, productoras, guionistas o montadoras que empezaron a trabajar con el nacimiento de este nuevo arte sin que su obra haya tenido el reconocimiento necesario: del clasicismo de Dorothy Azner o los noir de Ida Lupino en Hollywood al fantastique francés de Musidora pasando por la mirada vanguardista de Aleksandra Khokhlova en Rusia, los guiones de Pu Shunqing en China o, sin salir de nuestro país, las películas de Helena Cortesina o Rosario Pi.
Poster, “Las Hijas de Alice Guy.”
Desde alcine hemos querido sumarnos a la lucha por recuperar el legado de todas estas mujeres y devolverle el espacio que le corresponde. Con la colaboración de un grupo de ilustradoras y escritoras cinematográficas, proponemos imaginar cómo hubiera sido la historia del cine si las figuras de Guy y sus contemporáneas hubiesen tenido la relevancia merecida en una industria en la que hombres y mujeres ocupasen un lugar de igualdad.
¿Cómo hubiesen sido los grandes clásicos? ¿Cómo se presentaría el star system actual? ¿Y los blockbusters o el cine de acción? ¿Qué aspecto tendrían movimientos y corrientes generacionales como la nouvelle vague? A través de una serie de pósters ilustrados y de críticas ficticias a estas películas alternativas, proponemos un divertimento, a caballo entre la reivindicación y la herstory especulativa, mediante el que hacer una lectura crítica de nuestro pasado, creando un “re/imaginario colectivo” que, sin duda, habla también de nuestro present
We invite proposals for a special issue on Sex and the Materiality of Adult Media. This issue of Feminist Media Histories considers the role of women and gender in sex media, broadly defined. The issue aims to capaciously account for the labor and involvement of women in varied “adult” fields – as directors, actors, editors, exhibitors, promoters, cinematographers, photographers, and spectators, among other roles. This call seeks historical, archivally-oriented and materialist accounts that excavate feminist histories of varied pornographies, hard and soft, in sexually explicit independent film and video, as well as in more marginal or liminal zones of erotic film practice and visual and media cultures. We welcome varied considerations of the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class and ability, and approaches that employ diverse feminist and queer methodologies, across historical periods and in multiple locations. We also welcome and are very keen to include ephemera, archival materials, and/or interviews with women practitioners in sex media. The scope of the issue is necessarily global, with keen interest in practices and histories outside of the Anglo-European context.
Potential topics include but are not limited to:
•Histories of women makers and consumers of hard-core
•The sexually explicit avant-garde and the underground
•Lesbian, gay, queer and trans sex cinema histories – makers, scenes, communities
•1960s sexploitation cinema and overlooked labor – actors, directors, producers and other personnel
•Filmmakers, actors and consumers of color in sex media
•Global media practices and local sex scenes
•Women in sexual print cultures – 19th-century to present (models, photographers, readers, writers)
Interested contributors should contact guest editor Elena Gorfinkel directly at: email@example.com; Proposals of 300 words are due no later than December 5, 2017. Contributors will be notified January 15, 2018. Article drafts will be due by May 1, 2018 and will then be sent out for anonymous peer review.
The 36th edition of Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, the world’s foremost international silent film festival, took place a few weeks ago in Pordenone, Italy. This year marked my first visit to the annual event and I was far from disappointed. Over the course of the week, I saw delightful, challenging, and provocative films across a broad range of genres and from around the world. I was moved by Dimitri Kirsanoff’s Impressionistic Ménilmontant (1926) and Yasujiro Ozu’s neo-realistic Tokyo no Yado (1935), charmed by comedies like The Deadlier Sex (1920) and She’s a Prince (1926), and perplexed by Ubaldo Magnaghi’s Mediolanum (1933). From European Westerns and World War I documentaries to a recently restored fragment of the Louise Brooks film Now We’re in the Air (1927), I know I will be processing everything I saw (and the wonderful musical accompaniment that I heard) for weeks to come.
Texas Guinan in the Pordenone catalogue.
I attended the festival with a keen interest in seeing how many women film pioneers were represented by the programming and, as soon as I got my hands on the hefty catalogue, I looked for familiar names from our lists of published profiles, assigned profiles, and unassigned/unresearched women. I found pioneers in many different parts of the festival, though none were directly highlighted this year (except perhaps Texas Guinan, whose gun-toting image appears in the catalogue twice). For example, Florence Lawrence appeared in The Taming of Jane (1910) and Her First Biscuits (1909), both included in the timely “Nasty Women” program, which was co-curated by WFPP contributors Laura Horak and Maggie Hennefeld and focused on a wide variety of unruly, messy, and disruptive women. Marion Leonard’s Lucky Jim (1909) was also a part of this series, as was Florence Turner’s vehicle Everybody’s Doing It (1913). In the latter, Turner, who would go on to direct, produce, and star in DaisyDoodad’s Dial (1914) the next year, appears as a young woman who tries to woo a surly bachelor. While her skills as a facial contortionist were not utilized as much here, Turner’s expressive eyes and mouth were instantly recognizable. Elsewhere in the festival’s lineup, episodes of the Italian serial Il Fiacre n. 13 (1917)—featuring director/producer/screenwriter/actress Diana Karenne in episode four—were included in a series dedicated to the seventieth anniversary of the Cineteca Italiana.
La Fiancée du Volontaire (1907), directed by Alice Guy, was shown as part of the mid-week Tableaux Vivants presentation, where Valentine Robert went into fascinating detail on the relationship between painting and early cinema. An adaptation of the play “Anna-Liisa”—by assigned Finnish source author Minna Canth—was screened as part of a focus on Scandinavian cinema and French actress/stuntwoman Berthe Dagmar (profile forthcoming) made more than one appearance in the “Beginnings of the Western” program. Tungusi (1927) and Bukhara (1927), both edited by assigned Russian pioneer Yelizaveta Svilova from unused footage from Dziga Vertov’s A Sixth Part of the World (1926), were included in the “Soviet Travelogues” section. Russian film director Yuliya Solntseva (profile forthcoming) was seen in Aelita (1924), which was part of the annual “The Canon Revisited” strand of the festival (the costumes for the film were designed by another assigned pioneer, Aleksandra Exter).
I was particularly charmed by Manden uden Fremtid/The Man Without a Future (1916), a Danish comedy/Western written by Harriet Bloch. According to the WFPP profile on the prolific screenwriter, not only was this her favorite film, but she also wrote the cowboy part specifically for actor Valdemar Psilander at his request. The story follows an energetic cowboy who falls in love with a rich young woman. While she certainly likes him, she’s not impressed by his profession. However, the film is more than just a cross-class romantic comedy. Bloch’s cowboy is a nuanced mixture of rowdiness and sensitivity and his paramour, Grace, is very likeable.
The Night Rider (1920), starring Guinan, was a strong entry in the “Nasty Women” program and very fun to watch. Clad in leopard-print chaps and a big hat, Guinan stars as a ranch owner who is faced with ongoing nighttime cattle raids. Her character is spunky and outspoken: when told by locals she probably needs a husband to help protect the ranch, she responds “I never met a man yet fit for a husband.”
Most of all, I was blown away by the experience of watching the closing night film, Ernst Lubitsch’s The StudentPrince in Old Heidelberg (1927), accompanied by the Orchestra San Marco of Pordenone. The film, starring the equally charismatic Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer as lovers ultimately not destined for each other, was a nuanced and romantically tragic tale. Marian Ainslee and Ruth Cummings, two women from WFPP’s assigned pioneers list, wrote and created the well-placed intertitles, which were a mix of the comedic, somber, practical, and creative (at one point, the titles are used to illustrate the characters’ passion and excitement for each other, expanding as they say the other’s name). It was a strong ending to a wonderful week of celebration—of powerful and affecting films, of the tireless archivists who care for them, of the musicians who transform them, and of the numerous women and men who created them. I’m already looking forward to next year.
The Fall 2017 issue of Feminist Media Histories is now live!
The Fall 2017 issue of Feminist Media Histories is now live! Guest edited by WFPP contributor Mark Lynn Anderson, this edition of the feminist journal is a special issue on Betterment.
From Anderson’s introduction: “In the 1910s it was practically unthinkable to hold a hearing on a pressing social problem, form a commission addressing inequities or corruption, or found an institute dedicated to reform without seeking the valued testimony, perspectives, and participation of women as women. Yet by 1930, this expansive politics of inclusion was all but forgotten, replaced in historical memory by grotesque caricatures of matronly reformers, those meddling Mrs. Grundys who had been (and continued to be) perpetuated in the social imaginary…Scholarly film history has often assumed or confirmed this popular trope about women’s rather uncomplicated and uniform relation to uplift in the silent era…Instead, the essays gathered here ask us to form a more hesitant, a more considered, and a more complicated appreciation of women’s participation in early cinema as a means of social progress. “
The issue includes articles by Constance Balides, Jennifer Horne, Christina Lane, Luciana Corrêa de Araújo, and Sumiko Higashi.
For more information and to view the issue, visit the Feminist Media Histories website.