Tom Gunning 'The Attractions: How They Came Into The World'

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The Attraction of Early Cinema Since its existence, cinema has been one of the most popular entertainments in the world. In 1890s, the first motion-picture camera was created, introducing the public at the same time to the first period of cinema: early cinema. In the essay “Attractions: How They Came into the World”, Tom Gunning talks about how his colleague André Gaudreault and himself came up with the idea of the “Cinema of Attractions”. Because Gaudreault was French, he was questioning a lot the French translation of “early cinema”. Gaudreault thought that “le cinema des premiers temps” sounded bad and awkward. He was hoping to find a new term that would work well both in French and English. The year after this discussion, Gunning worked with his assistant Adam Simon and “discussed the different ways genres addresses the cinematic spectator in early cinema” . Together, they developed a concept “the cinema of attractions”, using the work of Sergei Eisenstein. They introduced the concept to Gaudreault who loved it and thought it worked well both in French and English. In the months that followed, Gunning and Gaudreault exchanged on the subject and agreed that early cinema is a system of monstrative attractions and that this is why they named it “cinema of attractions”. Although cinema of attractions seems to be representative of early cinema, it can’t fully replace the term early cinema for multiple reasons. In Gunning’s essay, the non-continuous style of early cinema

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