"This archive of the evolution of a crucial and influential theoretical concept in film studies is an indispensable dossier of documents tracing the emergence, impact, and varied applications of the notion of the "cinema of attractions." Taken together, these essays, written by some of the most provocative and highly esteemed scholars in film and media studies, reveal the extraordinary historical and theoretical productivity of the notion of "attractions." Ranging from articles associated with the earliest--and widely recognized as brilliant--articulations of the concept by Tom Gunning and André Gaudreault to attempts to flesh out the implications of "attractions" for our understanding of the avant-garde, digital media, VR, and computer games, this anthology is both an intellectual feast and a very precise record of a critical trajectory in recent film studies."
Mary Ann Doane, Professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University
What have Lumière in common with Wachowski? More than one hundred years separate these two pairs of brothers who astonished, quite similarly, the film spectator of their respective time with special effects of movement: a train rushing into the audience and a bullet flying in slow motion. Do they belong to the same family of “cinema of attractions”?
Twenty years ago Tom Gunning introduced the phrase “cinema of attractions” to define the essence of the earliest films made between 1895 and 1906. His term scored an immediate success, even outside the field of early cinema. The present anthology questions the attractiveness and usefulness of the term for both pre-classical and post-classical cinema.
With contributions by the most prominent scholars of this discipline (such as Tom Gunning, André Gaudreault, Thomas Elsaesser, Charles Musser, Scott Bukatman and Vivian Sobchack) this volume offers a kaleidoscopic overview of an important historiographical debate.
Wanda Strauven is Privatdozentin at the Goethe University Frankfurt