Looking for an art film online? Come on in, shop online and check out our featured products! An art film (also known as “art movie”, “art house film”, or in the collective sense as art cinema) is typically a serious, noncommercial, non-pornographic, independently made film aimed at a niche audience rather than a mass audience. Film critics and film studies scholars typically define an “art film” using a “…canon of films and those formal qualities that mark them as different from mainstream Hollywood films”, which includes, among other elements: a social realism style; an emphasis on the authorial expressivity of the director; and a focus on the thoughts and dreams of characters, rather than presenting a clear, goal-driven story. Film scholar David Bordwell claims that “art cinema itself is a [film] genre, with its own distinct conventions.”
Art film producers usually present their films at specialty theatres (repertory cinemas, or in the US “arthouse cinemas”) and film festivals. It can be hard to find an art film online. The term “art film” is much more widely used in the United States than in Europe, where the term “art film” is more associated with “auteur” films and “national cinema” (e.g., German national cinema). Art films are aimed at small niche market audiences, which means they can rarely get the financial backing which will permit large production budgets, expensive special effects, costly celebrity actors, or huge advertising campaigns, as are used in widely-released mainstream blockbuster films. That is why it is difficult to find an art film online that you really want to watch. Art film directors make up for these constraints by creating a different type of film, which typically uses lesser-known film actors (or even amateur actors) and modest sets to make films which focus much more on developing ideas or exploring new narrative techniques or filmmaking conventions.
Furthermore, a certain degree of experience and intellect are required to understand or appreciate such films; one late 1990s art film was called “largely a cerebral experience” which you enjoy “because of what you know about film” . This contrasts sharply with mainstream “blockbuster” movies, which are geared more towards escapism and pure entertainment. For promotion, art films rely on the publicity generated from film critics’ reviews, discussion of their film by arts columnists, commentators, and bloggers, and “word-of-mouth” promotion by audience members. Since art films have small initial investment costs, they only need to appeal to a small portion of the mainstream viewing audiences to become financially viable. The trend is for more and more access to art film online and that is a good thing.
Photo credit: amazon.com