Have you ever heard about Lois Weber, Frances Marion or Dorothy Arzner?
I guess not. Well, me neither, and I’m a total cinema freak, so there’s something wrong.
I stumbled upon their names for the first time in my life reading an article on Télérama about a movie presented at this year Cannes Film Festival in the section Cannes Classics: Et la femme créa Hollywood by sisters Clara and Julia Kuperberg.
This documentary tells a story kept almost secret until today: between 1910 and 1925, Hollywood was run by women. There was a majority of female film-makers, producers, screen-players, editors, even directors of the studios in all those years before the arrival of Talking Movies and the Great Depression. And before Hollywood became a mere business affair. Full of material coming from unknown archives and enriched by interviews to few specialists of this field like Ally Acker and Cari Beauchamp, the documentary is the story of an indecent descent: the only role for women in Hollywood, from the ‘30s until the ‘80s, has been the one represented by actresses, film-stars, sexual objects of (male) desire.
We have to wait until 2008 for having a woman winning the Oscar for Best Movie (Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker) and only very recently actresses have started to complain about the pay-difference between them and their male counter-parts. It was the case for Patricia Arquette and her fabulous Oscar winning speech in 2015 and in many statements made by rising star Jennifer Lawrence, who pretends to be payed as she should, since audience go to see the movies she plays in because of her.
|Patricia Arquette - Academy awards 2015|
Obliged to be in shadow of men, relegated in minor roles, some of them decided to quit, some others went desperate and ended their days in poverty and solitude (it was the case of Alice guy).
Once again, this is so unfair.
I do hope that this documentary will give birth to other studies about this period and that these incredible Hollywood female figures will be acknowledged and recognized by official cinema institutions all over the world.
Once again, girlspower!
The road is still very long.