This essay will discuss the relationship of film with visual culture through looking at the development of attractions

from early film to narrative style. According to Darley “ the element of spectacle which is central to the definition of modern forms of popular entertainment, did not entirely disappear from the cinema with the rise to predominance of the narrative style” (2000, p. 49), this idea will be explored through looking at attractions of the spectator within early cinema such as technology and how the narrative style developed to be the focus, replacing technology. Early cinema technologies such as the Cinématographe which combined a camera for recording the movement, a printer and, when connected to a magic lantern, a projector (Walters, J. March 2002) was used simply to project still images, which would in time slowly begin to move, the reaction this had on the spectator was shocked and excited this is because, at first, the delay of the movement of the image would have created tension and made the audience believe that what was being projected was just a still image, so when it began to move it revealed that the image was actually a film. (Actuality film) Due to the lack of knowledge the spectator of the film had about what the capabilities of the technology were, due to they’re being no history or tradition in using them, the spectator was wowed and became fascinated by the technology itself. According to Thomas Elsaesser “one of the attractions of early cinema was the cinematic apparatus itself” (1990. p. 13) This is why Lumiere’s Arrival of a Train at the Station terrified the audience enough for them to leave the cinema screaming as the train moved rapidly towards them, this was at the first screening at the Grand Café (Gunning, T. 1995). Near the start of the film the train slowly moving towards the audience would have created tension, but as it got closer and closer that tension grew and excitement built up to the point of terror. Darley (2000, p. 45) cited Gunning (1989) who argued, “The first audiences were not so naïve as to confuse the image for reality. Instead, he accounts for the ‘shock and astonishment’, an excitement pushed to the point of terror”. This suggests that although the technology had captured reality of a speeding train, the audience did not think the train was going to actually crash into them but because they were curious of the technology and the illusion of the train coming towards them the effect of the excitement of how fast it was moving towards them was too much. This shows that through the development of early cinema already the content was playing a key part. Gunning suggests “the terrorized spectator of the Grand Café still stalks the imagination of film theorists who envision audiences submitting passively to an all –dominating apparatus, hypnotized and transfixed by its illusionist power.” (1995, p. 115). This shows that the development of technology that was being used was being used to support the content of the film and to shock the spectator by the use of the apparatus through what it could show.

Unlike early cinema it was not necessarily designed to shock the audience however it was designed for the audience to feel part of. hiding the marks of their construction as far as possible. although at the time which these films were first shown that was enough to entertain the audience. the narrative cinema is much more entertaining than early cinema where what was being shown was. similar to Lumiere’s Arrival of a Train where the audience were curious to what was going to happen next. Darley suggests “the display of realistic representation as astonishing in and of itself disappears” (2000 p. 49). It is clear to see that there are big differences within the development of early cinema. Narrative cinema involves the spectator through a fictional world (story) where characters are introduced through a journey of up’s and down’s. Narrative cinema developed at the beginning of the 20th century. Leading the way towards a fictional world based on the real world and things which happen. which was apparent in the early audiences.) this makes the cinema more of a social and cultural activity because there is something to attract the same sort of audience at the same time. comedy. and there will be something for everyone and anyone interested in cinema. These films usually represent the world around us. which happen everyday. . 49) ‘This explains that the fascination has changed from the apparatus to the storyline and that narrative film strives to involve the audience but at the same time are new and original. but any people who were interested in what the new technologies of the cinema could offer. which allowed the audience to become more involved. as it started off with showing the transformation of an image. through curiosity generated by the power of illusion. gives way to a certain familiarity and the narrative film fortifies this by striving to produce stories which are highly transparent and involving. which the technology had captured and created. so technology has become something more of expectance rather than the focus of the cinema. known as the Hollywood style. Although technology isn’t a main attraction in narrative cinema to the audience. which tried to capture or represent the real world. more literarily. as if the technology was not how it should be expected the audience would not return to the cinema. (horror. This is where narrative cinema starts to become similar. according to Darley “The kind of fascination with the apparatus. so storylines aren’t predictable nor the same. it still play’s a key part. This new style was directed at the spectator. This is similar with both early cinema and narrative cinema although they get the spectator involved in different ways. which was enough to shock and excite the spectator through to films. do not happen or could happen within it. things. and to shock the spectator through what the technologies could capture. It appears that technology is no longer of interest to the spectator. action etc. the real world. films were designed in different genres for different people.” (2000 p. twists and turns. often however a lot of the films storyline’s are exaggerated to keep the spectators interest. These films are unlike those in the early cinema.The development of the early cinema would have attracted an open audience not specifically aimed at any sort of groups. so as individuals we can relate to them and feel more involved through having something in common.

It seems that the development of the cinema attractions could be in full circuit and the way the technology being used could once again become the main attraction to the spectator.What this essay has shown is that from the early cinema style where the spectator went to the cinema attracted to what could be captured using the technology. rather than the real world. developed into the attraction becoming the narrative. where different films were designed to attract many different audiences and make the spectator feel more involved and part of another world. the development of the narrative style brought more attraction to a wider audience which has become a big part of our visual culture. or 3D film could become the technology expected to be used when all films are shown? . Cinema attractions today still seem to be led by the narrative style. although technology recently has started again to become part of the cinema attractions. This is showing although the spectator’s attraction to the cinema changed. The new way which technology has become an attraction in the cinema is through the development of 3D film. this could be a development taken from what happened at the beginning with early film mentioned earlier within this essay. This style is being used to support the narrative style and is designed to make the spectator feel more involved through images coming out of the screen towards them.

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