By Wanda Strauven

What have Lumière in universal with Wachowski? multiple hundred years separate those pairs of brothers who astonished, rather equally, the movie spectator in their respective time with lighting tricks of circulate: a educate speeding into the viewers and a bullet flying in sluggish movement. Do they belong to an analogous kin of “cinema of attractions”?

Twenty years in the past Tom Gunning brought the word “cinema of points of interest” to outline the essence of the earliest movies made among 1895 and 1906. His time period scored an instantaneous luck, even outdoors the sphere of early cinema. the current anthology questions the popularity and usability of the time period for either pre-classical and post-classical cinema.

With contributions via the main renowned students of this self-discipline (such as Tom Gunning, André Gaudreault, Thomas Elsaesser, Charles Musser, Scott Bukatman and Vivian Sobchack) this quantity deals a kaleidoscopic review of a big historiographical debate.

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Additional resources for The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded (Amsterdam University Press - Film Culture in Transition)

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In contrast to what I feel are hasty readings of my essay, I never claimed that attractions were the only aspect of early cinema, although I claim they do dominate the period, first numerically (the large number of films of vaudeville acts – including dances, acrobatic feats, and song numbers; trick films; tourist views; urban scenes; records of processions, and other public events). Secondly, attractions tend to dominate even those films which also involve narrative, detouring their energies from storytelling to display, either by including outright attractions (the Attractions: How They Came into the World 37 outlaw Barnes firing his six shooter at the camera in The Great Train Robbery []) in a “non-continual” fashion that interrupts narrative coherence, or, as in Méliès’s more extended story films, structuring the action around a succession of attractions, with, as Méliès himself described it, the story serving basically as a pretext to move us through a scenography of spectacle and display.

Gunning labels this quality an “attraction,” a cinematic concept that aims to deproblematize the primary problematic he ad- A Rational Reconstruction of “The Cinema of Attractions” 49 dresses in his essay – early cinema’s inspiration for the avant-garde – for the concept of attraction names the common feature they share. But the concept of the attraction is not sufficient in itself to link early cinema to the avant-garde. To make the link viable, Gunning introduces a concept familiar to the modern or “contemporary film theory” of the s: the abstract concept of the subject (or spectator) position.

More specifically, Gunning introduces the concept of the deconstructed “spectator position” to link early cinema and the avant-garde. In the cinema of attractions, the spectator is not positioned as a voyeur absorbed into and spying on a self-enclosed narrative world; instead, it is exhibitionist, knowingly/reflexively addressing the spectator and providing him or her with a series of views. ” An attraction aggressively subjected the spectator to “sensual or psychological impact” [Eisenstein]. According to Eisenstein, theater should consist of a montage of such attractions, creating a relation to the spectator entirely different from the absorption in “illusory imitativeness” [Eisenstein].

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