Tableaux vivants, early cinema, and ‹beauty-as-attraction›
Author(s): Wiegand, Daniel
This article offers a case study in intermediality and explores relationships between tableaux vivants performances and early cinema around 1900. It locates processes of intermedial exchange not only at the level of form but also at the level of modes of address and reception. More specifically, the study is concerned with how bourgeois notions of beauty were transferred to the lm image and reconciled with the attraction value of cinema. As a discussion of early lm theory reveals, the concept of “beauty in film” depended on a taming of filmic motion, something that had already been realized in performance practices of tableaux vivants. In the subsequent analysis of the cultural context of tableaux vivants in European variety theatres, I outline a specific mode of address, which I term “beauty- as-attraction:” an overlap of the older aesthetics of the beautiful and the more modern aesthetics of attraction. Through concluding film analysis, I show how tableaux vivants became a model and source of inspiration for early cinema, thus bringing to fruition the two-fold address of beauty-as- attraction in a new media context.
Wiegand, Daniel: Tableaux vivants, early cinema, and ‹beauty-as-attraction›. In: Acta universitatis sapientia. Film and media studies, Jg. 15 (2018), Nr. 1, S. 9–32. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1515/ausfm-2018-0001.