The concept of ‘cinema of attractions’ encompasses the development of early cinema, its technology, industry and cultural context. The explanation of how it is perceived by early cinema audiences is closely related to the effects of history at that time. How Gunning coined the term ‘cinema of attractions’ pertains to the history of the film industry at the turn of the 20th century and his interpretation of the audience and their reaction film technology. Single shots, the process of creating a moving picture and the juxtaposition of limited techniques, coupled with a new invention of showing a moving picture.
Cultural context of an audience
According to historians like Neil Burch, the primitive period of the film industry, at the turn of the 20th century was making films that appealed to their audiences due to the simple story. A non-fiction narrative, single shots a burgeoning sense
“of exhibitionist confrontation rather than absorption,” (Gunning, Tom 2000 p 232) as Gunning suggests the spectator is asking for an escape that is censored and delivered with a controlled element of movement and audiovisual. Gunning believes that the audience had a different relationship with film before 1906. (Gunning, Tom 2000 p 229)
By seeing the cinema pre World War I as primitive the mother of all creation, necessity was utilised and the economic and technological immaturity, did not hold back the creators but the limits freed them. Gunning terms this as a linear evolutionary process. Gunning, T 1993
The cinema of attractions is an idea that Tom Gunning and Mr Gaudreault developed and over time coined as a term to describe the capabilities of film. They had a different idea of the early days in film history and wanted that to be known. (Gunning, T 1993) Films were more like a documentary as there was no staged narrative. The shots went from single to multiple but before that time a continuous staging heavily relying upon a staged action sequence and timing.
Gunning states that Melies, Lumiere and Porter share the ‘cinema of attractions’. After watching Voyage dans la lune, The great train robbery, the audience is in awe and moved by the exotic prospects of the film and its allurement. Even after the progressive artists of the 20th century added narrative, multiple screen shots, points of view and greater audiovisual audiences still respected the works that led to domination over what was produced in the beginning. Gunning observed that audiences of that time were more responsive and less sensitive to traditional narrative. (Gunning, Tom 2000 p 229)
The industry from Europe to America
The film greats may be hard at work creating the foundations in France and Italy but the new money and film adventures travelled to America in the early 1900’s. After having built production companies and furthering the industry in the North- East of America the film magnets decided Hollywood was to be the new plateau for cinema and expanding upon the new...