The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded (Film Culture in by Wanda Strauven

By Wanda Strauven

What have Lumière in universal with Wachowski? multiple hundred years separate those pairs of brothers who astonished, relatively equally, the movie spectator in their respective time with lighting tricks of circulation: a teach speeding into the viewers and a bullet flying in gradual movement. Do they belong to an analogous kinfolk 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 motion pictures made among 1895 and 1906. His time period scored a right away luck, even outdoor the sector of early cinema. the current anthology questions the popularity and value of the time period for either pre-classical and post-classical cinema.

With contributions by way of the main favourite students of this self-discipline (such as Tom Gunning, André Gaudreault, Thomas Elsaesser, Charles Musser, Scott Bukatman and Vivian Sobchack) this quantity bargains a kaleidoscopic assessment of an incredible historiographical debate.

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One of the key innovative (and contentious) aspects of Gunning’s essay is the way he uses classification to organize his data. His conceptual distinction between attraction/narrative enables him to rewrite the history of early cinema, by positing a break in its periodization (occurring around ), rather than its continuous linear teleological development towards narrative. This break defines early (pre-) cinema positively, by identifying it as a distinct unified practice with its own rules and conventions, rather than (as in the standard – continuous and linear – film history) negatively, as merely an imperfect narrative cinema.

Rudolf Botha, The Conduct of Linguistic Inquiry: A Systematic Introduction to the Methodology of Generative Grammar (The Hague: Mouton, ). I have previously used Botha’s work to analyze the formation of problems in film theory; see Warren Buckland, “Film Semiotics,” A Companion to Film Theory, ed. - (): -; “Zwischen Shakespeare und Sirk: Eine rationale Rekonstruktion von Tales of Sound and Fury,” trans. Michael Wedel, Die Spur durch den Spiegel: Der Film in der Kultur der Moderne, ed.

Gunning therefore “uses” the specificity thesis (at a distance) when he writes immediately before formulating problematic number : “It is precisely this harnessing of visibility, this act of showing and exhibition which I feel cinema before  displays most intensely” (-/ ). Cinema’s specificity, according to Gunning, lies in its “act of showing and exhibition,” and early cinema and the avant-garde exploit this specificity. Gunning’s use of the word “inspire” also identifies two of his background assumptions: that early cinema did not simply die out after , but became integrated into both narrative film and the avant-garde, and breathed life into them.

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