Attractions and distractions: mums, babies and 'early' cinemagoing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reports on a small-scale audience study of women attending dedicated parent-and-baby screenings at one Glasgow cinema as a means of engaging with questions about exhibition context and cinema audiences that have been somewhat marginalised in contemporary accounts of film viewing. It uses Tom Gunning’s account of early cinema’s ‘attractions’ as a way of framing the various pleasures on offer for women in these screenings, including the ways in which they think about their babies’ engagements with the experience. The interviews reveal the extent to which, whilst the film choice is by no means incidental to the ‘Watch With Baby’ experience, the women’s accounts of the films are embedded in a very embodied account of cinemagoing in which the organisation of the space and the relationship of bodies within it is central. This does not – as canonical film theory suggests – depend upon the negation of the apparatus, but rather displays a fascination with its possibilities as they might be perceived by the infant audience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-283
Number of pages24
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


  • cinema of attractions
  • cinemagoing
  • mothers
  • babies
  • intimacy


Dive into the research topics of 'Attractions and distractions: mums, babies and 'early' cinemagoing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this