Art film is a film genre that began as a European reaction to the Hollywood style of film making. more...
Art film provides similar kinds of cinematic illusion that one finds in classical Hollywood, but by loosening the ties between its style and narrative concerns, it allows for increased subjective realism and authorial expressivity.
Less concern for causal narrative structure
In the classical Hollywood form, film style is dictated by narrative. Everything that happens or is portrayed in a classical film is supposed to advance the narrative forward. All characters that are introduced are causal agents in the narrative, and classical films are filled with redundant images, verbal expressions, or symbols to get the message across to the viewer. This can be viewed as an artificial construction of reality, since nothing will be included in the film that does not clearly help the viewer understand what is going on. Art film rejects this as unrealistic, and attempts to portray real life situations and characters where things happen that do not always have a clear meaning or purpose, but instead are vague and even mysterious. Therefore, art film does not worry about clearly explaining how everything fits together. Any causal gaps that appear in the narrative of art film are often permanent.
Because art films do not always have to explain themselves, they will often have episodic plots or wandering episodes, where a character might wander off, encounter something, do something, or say something for no clear reason, and no definite explanation will ever be provided in the film. Instead, things remain ambiguous to the very end. This presents a challenge to most viewers who are accustomed to the classical style, because loose ends are not all tied up in the final scene of the art film, as opposed to classical Hollywood films which have strong closure. Art film is less about pure escapist entertainment compared with the classical system, also adding to the challenge for the viewer.
Objective and subjective realism
The art film deals with realistic social problems in both objective and subjective ways. Classical Hollywood films are also able to portray social issues, but only within the bounds of the narrative, and therefore social issues are looked at only from the outside, objectively. But unlike classical Hollywood, art film is considered to be more effective at portraying its characters as more true to life, because their inner psychological state is portrayed with more subjective realism. Therefore, the characters are complex, and their behaviour as well as their relationships cannot be easily understood.
Because art film is not dictated by narrative concerns, there is more freedom for authorial expressivity. The film maker can express their own style or peculiarities more freely. For this reason, it is easy to recognize the makers of art films as auteurs.
Art film directors
- Federico Fellini
- Michelangelo Antonioni
- Tinto Brass
- Alejandro Jodorowsky
- Dušan Makavejev
- Peter Greenaway
- Akira Kurosawa
- David Lynch
- Satyajit Ray
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