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One of this year’s most essential archival box sets, the long-gestating “Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers” is a necessary corrective to nearly a century of cinema studies and canon-building focused on men. In the era before the Hollywood studio system took over the American movie business, there were pockets of the industry scattered about, where women like Alice Guy-Blaché, Grace Canard, Lois Weber and Mabel Normand worked in front of and behind the cameras to tell stories that were visually dynamic and emotionally rich. This six-disc collection contains over 50 silent-era short films and fragments (and even more on the Blu-ray edition), plus a few full-length features, covering a range of styles and subjects from a perspective too often overlooked in history classes.

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