Arthouse is the perfect movie genre for those who are hungry for something different. Let’s face it, sometimes you don’t always want to watch a simple movie with tried and tested themes and story lines.
Sometimes you would prefer to watch something totally unique, ingenious and creative instead.
If this sounds like you, you will love these infamous arthouse films that have changed the movie industry permanently over the years. Delve deep into the world of unconventional cinema as we break down the 21st century’s top arthouse films…
1. In the Mood for Love (2000)
In the Mood For Love is a vintage film that first hit cinemas in 1962 in Hong Kong. The movie features Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung), who are renting two homes in the same apartment block and become next-door neighbours. Both characters are married and their spouses are usually away travelling on business. Life seems normal for the two friends – until something unexpected happens that changes their lives forever.
In the Mood for Love is a visually beautiful film that was expertly shot and edited by director Wong Kar-wai. The director’s love and care for his masterpiece is evident in every scene, and the movie’s popular actors translate its message in a romantic but non-stereotypical way. Essentially, the movie is an analysis of the deep pain that the characters feel in their souls, and the final scene of the shabby monastery brings it all together in a way you will never forget.
2. Mulholland Drive (2001)
David Lynch’s masterpiece offers an intimate peek into the lives of its two major characters: Rita (played by Laura Harring) and Betty (played by Naomi Watts. Glamorous Rita survives a car accident and finds a safe place to hide in the home of Betty’s aunt Ruth. Betty arrives at the home while on her way to an audition in Canada (for a film, not as a bingo Canada caller!), and becomes instant friends with a confused and disorientated Rita.
Of course, Lynch’s screenplay is hard to describe in print as he is renowned for the surreal and mystical overtones of his films. Mulholland Drive starts out as what looks like a simple neo-noir movie, but you will soon begin to see hints of idiosyncrasy and surrealist elements popping up as the plot deepens. Regardless, the quality of this film is perfect and highly distinctive, aided by ethereal visuals and neon lights. This is one of history’s most popular arthouse films for a good reason!
3: Russian Ark (2002)
Russian Ark takes its viewers on a magical tour of Russia’s history through the rooms of the Palace of St. Petersburg and the Ermitage, Russia’s largest museum. The adventure is narrated by Alexander Sokurov and his travelling companion Sergey Dreyden as they explore palatial rooms where Tzars once lived. The pair also delve deeper into the histories of iconic Russian personalities like Tsar Nicholas I and II, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great, among others.
As well as being interesting to watch, Russian Ark is also a daring piece of art as the director managed to shoot it in a single 96-minute sequence. This is an iconic film in the world of arthouse cinema and a contemporary classic, offering awesome screenplay techniques and immersive narration from two intriguing main characters.