(extra credit) Realism in Art Cinema

Art cinema is a mode of filmmaking characterized by its deviation from classical conventions. Unlike typical Hollywood cinema, which often prioritizes entertainment, broad accessibility, and usually adheres to established “rules”, Bordwell suggests that art cinema often presents a more realistic and less idealized depiction of everyday life in his essay, “That Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice”. 

Contrary to Hollywood studios that frequently use constructed sets, art cinema often utilizes location shooting. Filming in real, everyday environments contributes to the authentic portrayal of the characters’ lives. The use of actual locations adds a layer of realism to the narrative, grounding the film in the elements of the world it depicts. Art cinema may draw attention to the details of everyday objects and settings, using them symbolically or thematically. These elements become integral to the narrative, enhancing the overall sense of realism, and ultimately contributing to the relatability of the film.

Art cinema tends to favor naturalistic acting and behavior, abandoning the polished and stylized performances often found in classical Hollywood films.  Characters in art cinema are often depicted with greater complexity and nuance. They often have flaws, uncertainties, and internal conflicts that mirror the complexities of real people. The emphasis on the psychological depth of characters contributes to a more authentic representation of human experiences and relationships. They may exhibit more spontaneous reactions, capturing the subtleties of human emotion and behavior in a manner that resonates with the unpredictability of real life.

With that being said, art cinema often avoids neatly resolved endings. Instead, these films may conclude with open-ended or ambiguous conclusions, reflecting the uncertainty and complexity of real-life situations. The lack of clear resolutions encourages viewers to contemplate the film’s themes and characters beyond the confines of the screen.

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