Marie de Kerstrat (1841-1920)
One of the first women to work in the film milieu, Marie de Kerstrat, countess of Grandsaignes d’Hauterives, was also the largest film exhibitor in Quebec prior to the opening of permanent movie halls in 1906. She left France in 1897 with her son Henry de Grandsaignes d’Hauterives and for roughly fifteen years managed a travelling projection show called the “Historiographe,” offering a mixture of historical and entertainment films. Their activities would extend to the eastern United States, but for ten years (1897-1906) the mother and son duo made annual tours in Quebec, projecting films in schools, parish halls and theatres in Montreal and smaller towns such as Roberval, Ste-Agathe and Warwick. The Historiographe showed mostly French films purchased from Lumière, Méliès and Pathé . The subjects ranged from historical and didactic (Joan of Arc, The Napoleonic Epic) to entertainment (A Trip to the Moon, The Haunted Castle). After the opening of the first permanent cinemas, the countess and her son went on to operate nickelodeons in New York and Saint Louis, but abandoned the movie business altogether in 1913 when monopolisation began restricting the freedom of small exhibitors.
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Bioscope en l'an 1900
More info
Duigou, Serge, Germain Lacasse. 1985. L’Historiographe: Les débuts du spectacle cinématographique au Québec. Montréal: Cinémathèque Québécoise.
Duigou, Serge, Germain Lacasse. 1987. Marie de Kerstrat, l’aristocrate du cinématographe. Quimper: Ressac.