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Cine Concert “The Women Pioneers of Cinema”


Isabelle Olivier

Embassy of France in the United States
4101 Reservoir Rd NW
Washington, DC, US 20007

September 6, 2023 | 7:30pm


Isabelle Olivier, harpist and jazzwoman, presents the cine concert “The Women Pioneers in Cinema” at the Embassy of France.

In August 2019, after reading an article about Alice Guy-Blaché entitled “Et si Méliès était une femme?” (“What if Méliès had been a woman?”) in Le Monde, Isabelle Olivier began researching women pioneers of cinema and eventually wrote the live soundtrack to a silent film screening in 2021. As a tribute to these unfairly forgotten pioneers of cinema, she composed an eclectic program, accessible to all, revolving around an elaborated acoustic and electronic sound research.

During the first few decades of cinema, the most innovative and renowned US filmmakers were women. Guy-Blaché laid the foundations of cinematic language, while others, such as Mabel Normand (who taught Charlie Chaplin all about filmmaking), action star Grace Cunard, and LGBTQIA+ icon Alla Nazimova, took daring steps to develop the field further. Never shying away from controversy, creative, free, intrepid women filmmakers such as Lois Weber and Dorothy Davenport Reid tackled the explosive, controversial issues of their era, such as birth control, abortion, and prostitution.

They were true artists, incredible visionaries, and militant activists. So how is it that such an important body of work has been overlooked?

About the artist:

Isabelle Olivier is a jazzwoman and harpist with a strong musical personality. She brings a wave of freshness and novelty to the international artistic world with her surprising and unique instrument and her distinctive style. Resident of the Villa Albertine program, she is a composer dealing with several genres: jazz, Celtic, urban, electro and contemporary music. She had the opportunity to share her musical expertise in the cinema (Agnès Varda, Abdellatif Kechiche) and performing arts fields. She is currently an associate artist in residency at the Theatre of Longjumeau for the next three years. From 2019 to 2022, she was an associate artist in residency at La Ferme de Bel Ébat – theatre of Guyancourt. Isabelle Olivier played in 25 countries presenting her musical creations. Her latest project is «SMILE» and it is a live performance mixing acoustic and electro music with circus performances.

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