i would like to suggest a broader use of tom gunning's notion of "cinema of
atracitons". if you want to take action films as genre, then i would suggest
to think about it not as a narrative structure, but as a means of holding
viewer's attention. action is, first and foremost "attraction". of course,
there is usually some narrative holding the pieces of action together, but i
would consider retarded anyone who watches films like PREDATOR or
CLIFFHANGER (or for that matter JURASSIC PARK or INDEPENDENCE DAY) because
of the engaging story.
the fact is that most of the today's box-office hits have more to do with
atractions than with narration. and "action as attraction" has been very
succesful. there are other attractions, of course (stars like leonardo
dicaprio in TITANIC, just to name one of the freshest examples), and they
are almost always non-narrative. but the fact is that action, like music in
musicals (but also in other genres) or costumes and settings, is something
that draws attention to itself without being attached to a speciffic genre.
these are just some of my ad-hoc thoughts on the subject. i would be glad to
get some response on this.
finnish film archive
Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama.