Cinema of Attractions vs Narrative Cinema

1969 Words May 22nd, 2013 8 Pages
This essay will discuss both the Cinema of Attractions and Narrative Cinema and their origins in order to better understand the differences found between them in regards to the criteria to follow. This essay will highlight the role that the spectator plays, and the temporality that both the Cinema of Attractions and Narrative Cinema exhibit.

Tom Gunning proposed the Continuity Model in order to better understand the beginning of film and the making of film. Gunning proposes the following assumptions: Firstly, the evolutionary assumption, in which film is considered to have developed linearly across time as more development occurs. Secondly, the cinematic assumption theorises that film only truly came to being through the
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Méliès was one of the first directors to progress cinematic technology, which paved the way for narratives as style of film (Leveridge, 2012: 98).
Cinema after 1906, according to Gunning, pushed towards the structure of linear narrative, and away from the immediacy of the "spectacular image" (Strauven, 1999: 387).

Paradigms and their relation to the Spectator

The Cinema of Attractions is based on an exhibitionist paradigm (Gunning, 2004: 44), where it seeks to knowingly addressing the spectator and provide its spectator with a series of views or selective information (Strauven, 1999: 49). The cinema of attractions existed primarily between the years 1895 and 1906 (Strauven, 1999: 38).
Cinema of Attractions is concerned with the ability to display. Attractions wanted to show the ‘here and now’, interacting with its spectator with the aim of satisfying the audience’s curiosity quickly (Gunning, 2004: 44). It displays current events, scenes form everyday life, composed scenes, vaudeville performances and also camera tricks (as pioneered by George Méliès). Cinema of Attractions aims to astonish its audience (Strauven, 1999: 50). through displaying, rather than amusing its audience through narrative content. This is seen in films such as G. Méliès’ ‘ L'homme-orchestre (One Man Band)’ (1900), or his ‘L'homme à la tête de caoutchouc (The Man With The Rubber Head)’ (1901) where the actor(s) constantly address the camera/spectator and the audience is
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