Cinema of Attractions vs Narrative Cinema Essay

Words: 1993
Pages: 8

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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The scientist makes dramatic gestures to the audience about what is going to happen next, and so the suspense builds as the scientist proceeds with his plan to inflate the man’s head. In this film, the audience is aware of what is going to happen, and are aware that they are being addressed- a distinct characteristic of the Cinema of Attractions. The only information omitted, is exactly when the event will unfold. Cinema of Attractions is therefore, concerned with providing its spectator with the suspense and anticipation about ‘when’ an event will unfold (Gunning, 2004: 45).

Narrative Cinema, however, It is based on a voyeuristic paradigm (Gunning, 2004: 44), seeking to involve the spectator by allowing a self-enclosed narrative world to be spied upon by its spectator (Strauven, 1999: 49). The beginning of Narrative Cinema existed between 1903 and 1910 (Strauven, 1999: 49).
Narrative Cinema is concerned with the ability to tell story through the medium of film. This means that narrative cinema does not acknowledge the audience, instead the audience is merely viewing the action ‘secretly’ and is therefore a passive spectator (Gunning, 2004: 44). It becomes apparent when looking at films such as Edwin S. Porter’s ‘The Great Train Robbery’ (1903), when the actors face away from the camera, and interact with each other or with the environment, and the audience is allowed to