Type: Review
Pages: 2 | Words: 369
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Tom Gunning’s article The Cinema of Attraction: Early Film, Its Spectator and the Avant-Garde defines the notion of the cinema of attraction and traces its development throughout the early stages of cinematography with an emphasis on the separate outstanding films and film-makers who contributed to the development of this genre like Lumiere, Sergei Eisenstein and Marinetti. The main distinguishing feature of the cinema of attractions is its ability to show something through the visual tricks and effects. It has a vividly expressed exhibitionist character as it is aimed at involving spectators into the action unfolding on the screen. The author supposes that the cinema of attraction was dominant in the cinematography until 1906-1907 when narrative films became more wide-spread and the use of attractions in the cinema became secondary.

Exhibitionism is the main characteristic of this kind of cinema that is created through the various techniques like the actors winking at the camera, addressing spectators and involving them into action in any other way, which later became impermissible in the realistic narrative films. However, it does not mean that attractions were totally abandoned by filmmakers as they were still used on a smaller scale and in more subtle ways. Exhibitionism gave place to the narration and was reduced to minimum in later films, yet the author does not think that cinema of attractions and narrative films are opposite notions because they have largely intermingled.

The cinema of attractions has a modern day equivalent that is becoming extremely popular with the general audience. In my opinion, this equivalent is 3D films as they are aimed at involving spectators into the action and making them believe that they are a part of the film. Spectators are turned into participants of the plot as it has been with the early cinema of attraction. Eisenstein classic view of attractions like the idea to glue viewers to their seats is now realized through the special spectacles that make spectators believe that they are in the action. Material attractions are turned into psychological influence. Thus, it is possible to say that the cinema of attraction is present in the modern cinematography and thrives in the times when spectators want to be attracted and involved into the films.

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