Photography Alasdair McLellan. Fashion Editor Suzanne Koller & Brune De Margerie. Model (s) Lineisy Montero, Amilna Estevao, Damaris Goddrie, & Grace Bol. Makeup by Peter Philips & hair by Anthony Turner.
By: Kristen Welch, Manager of Editorial, Turner Classic Movies
Tonight kicks off the first night of programming in TCM’s Trailblazing Women: Behind the Movies, Ahead
of Their Time spotlight that looks at women’s contributions to the film
industry from its very beginnings through to modern times. It is a subject that
is near and dear to my heart, because the history of women in film is a
fascinating one that is so rarely looked at or highlighted, especially when it
comes to early directors’ work. In film school, I learned about many great
directors but I never heard or even watched the films of Alice Guy-Blaché or Frances
Marion or Dorothy Arzner until I went to Grad School. To be fair, there were
quite a few more modern women directors that I was aware of growing up—Amy
Heckerling, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow spring to mind—but there was an
entire rich history of women’s contributions to film that I simply didn’t know
about because I’d never encountered or stumbled upon them in my early studies.
And it is for this reason that I am so excited and proud that we are doing this
initiative, and specifically why I wanted write a post about our first night of
This evening, you’ll be able to see the work of a few women
who were truly pioneers in the field. At a time when film was new, and no one
really knew what the medium would become, women were able to find a place not
just working on the films but holding leadership positions as well (for more on
this, I urge you to read Cari Beauchamp’s article at http://trailblazingwomen.tcm.com/about/,
she is also co-host for this evening of films).
Alice Guy-Blaché was one of those women, and we’ll be airing
6 of her films (5 shorts and a feature) tonight starting at 8pm. Blaché was not
just one of the first female directors, but one of the first directors period.
Her films were coming out alongside the more well known and, today, more
frequently taught movies of the Lumière
brothers and D.W. Griffith. Her lifetime output of films is often estimated in
the 1000s (yes, you read that right, no typo here), but the majority of them
have been lost due to neglect, and Blaché herself has faded into obscurity.
Yet, I encourage you to tune in tonight to watch these early films because,
like her contemporaries, Blaché is truly playing with film technique and
testing the boundaries to see what will work, because at the time there were no
I know that silent film is not for everyone, but to watch
these films is to see how movies, as we know them today, came to be. And
beyond being the first female director, we need to remember Blaché as the movie
pioneer that she was—on par with Griffith, Méliès, DeMille and other directors we learn about today. I especially encourage
you to tune in for her 1896 film La Fée aux choux, not only her first film but also the first
film directed by a woman. I have never had a chance to watch the film,
but you can be sure I’ll be sitting one my couch ready to watch it tonight, and
I hope you’ll join me!
HOLLYWOOD PORTFOLIO: BRITISH EDITION actors Emily Blunt, Judi Dench, James McAvoy, Sally Hawkins, Keira Knightley, Luke Evans, Carmen Ejogo, Annabelle Wallis, Dev Patel, Imogen Poots, David Ojelowo, Jamie Dornan, Gugu Mbatha - Raw, Kenneth Branagh, Richard Madden, Lily James, Sophie Turner, Sam Claflin, Natalie Dormer, Juliet Rylance, Mark Rylance, Jack Huston, Ruth Wilson, Dominic West, Sienna Miller, Matthew Goode by Jason Bell VANITY FAIR USA March 2015
(1) Gucci Première (2) Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla (3) [her] Oscar de la Renta [him] Ralph Lauren Purple Label (4) [from left] Michael Kors, Brioni, Tom Ford, Turnbull&Asser, Tom Ford, Giorgio Armani (5) [him] Huntsman, [her] Saint Laurent (6) [Branagh] Tom Ford [Madden] Gieves & Hawkes [James] Dior (7) Chanel haute couture (8) [her] Saint Laurent, coat New&Lingwood [him] Ede & Ravenscrof (9) [from left] Canali, Alexander McQueen, Chanel haute couture, Brooks Brothers, Hilfiger Collection, Brioni, Valentino, Calvin Klein Collection