Tom Gunning's Theory Of The Cinema Of Attractions

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Early cinema is often referred to as a progression to narrative cinema, Tom Gunning would argue that it was not a progression but had its own purpose and coined the term The Cinema of Attractions in his essay ‘Now you see it, Now you don’t’. This is the concept that a large quantity of the first film makers produced films that were more about the spectacle, most of the films leading up to 1900 reflected the fascination with technology and how things happened rather than why. Gunning noted that there were three assumptions of film; the general ideas that people had about the timeline of film and where it would end up. There is the cinematic assumption, the idea that film was ‘restricted to the technological reproduction of theatre’ (Gunning T.1993) early cinema was primitive and only a practice for what was to come. The narrative assumption is that film is ‘only important as it is a predecessor to a more engaging and effective form of film,’ (Gunning T. 1993) this suggests that narrative cinema is the natural form of film. The final assumption is the idea that ‘cinema only truly appeared when it discovered its mission of telling stories.’ (Metz C. 1974) These assumptions all encompass the idea that narrative is the end form of film. In this essay I am going to discuss Tom Gunning’s theory of The Cinema of Attractions and the differences between them and narratively driven films. The films involved with The Cinema of Attractions are disputed as being renowned for inventing a new and innovative type of cinema. Narrative is widely thought of as the only type of film in current times, but it came after the popularity of actualities. In 1900 people had more leisure time than they did before so they needed something to occupy their time. Films became an activity for everyone, regardless of class or age, and so there was a high demand for them. People were fascinated by movement and travelling as it was hard for the general public to experience most of the things shown on the films they saw; these films were called travelogues and were extremely popular as it allowed people to see the world. Actualities are possibly the first genre of film and have been argued to be the first documentaries. Common attributes of an

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