Cinema of Attraction
When one contemplates the concepts of cinema and attractions, the ideas of the modern day blockbuster film might come to mind. World disasters, car chases, and high profile police investigations are just some of the story lines that attract people to theatres year round. The term "cinema of attraction" introduced by Tom Gunning into the study of film is defined more precisely. To quote Gunning, a cinema of attraction: "directly solicits spectator attention, inciting visual curiosity, and supplying pleasure through an exciting spectacle" (p.230). This spectacle may be demonstrated through dance, song or offscreen supplements, such as sound effects and spoken commentary. Rather than a straightforward entertainment purpose, a film may seek to
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Some critics argue whether or not Nanook should be considered a documentary, as most of the scenes' content were construed to make the Inuits appear reminiscent to what Western viewers believed Inuit life was like. Nevertheless, Flaherty was capturing the lives of the people living in the Arctic and at the same time managed to capture his audiences' attention by providing comic relief and other spectacles. One example of Flaherty's use of spectacle was the fact that he chose his cast members. This was important to the attraction of the film because the characters include Nanook, who was the most famed hunter in his district (Ebert, 2005). Flaherty made certain that all the characters fit perfectly into his vision of the Arctic by choosing Nanooks wives and hand picking who would play his Inuit children. The first footage of the film documented a walrus hunt. Although Flaherty admitted that the hunt was pre-coordinated, the events that took place on the screen were real. Regardless of what may have been staged behind the scenes, Nanook really had a seal on the other end of his hunting line. Flaherty is quoted as saying "
to the audience the seal was real and living. Women and children joined with the men in shouting admonitions, warnings and advice to Nanook and his crew as the picture unfolded on the screen." (Ebert 2005). One of the film's most fascinating scenes is the construction of