Answering Questions Asked Through Google XV

I think in this week’s AQATG, I will need your help! Amazing, isn’t it?

The question: “what are some artsy movies?”

First, we should define artsy in this context. Personally, I have a pretty broad definition of art and films usually pass it. But I think it’s clear that artsy doesn’t mean art in general but a special kind of movie, defined by the following criteria:

  • Independent/unknown studios
  • Usually not Hollywood or US-American
  • Underlying message that can only be extracted after hours and hours of interpretation or not at all (meaning, the movies are deep); often those messages are political/sociocritical
  • No humour! Humour and depth cannot be combined.
  • Unknown actors or famous actors who practically worked for free
  • Small budget
  • Characters, not special effects
  • Usually it’s seen as a quality measurement – an artsy movie is perceived as a good movie more often than not (probably because some just aren’t understandable)

I think that’s mostly it. Of course, not always all criteria apply. I think, whether a movie is artsy or not is basically determined by your intuition.

Now, to list a few movies that fit this description… I’ll start here, but I’ll be happy about any addition you have to make in the comment section.

I can’t think of anything else right now. So, my invitation stands: do add to the list in the comment section. I will do the same thing, if inspiration hits me.

10 thoughts on “Answering Questions Asked Through Google XV

  1. American Psycho is my favorite movie, but I’m not sure I would call it “artsy”. Partially, maybe. To me, artsy, focuses on feeling and impression instead of plot and characters. Here are some of my more-artsy picks:

    Otto e Mezzo


    Kill Bill (ignore the story and focus on the visual effects)

    the last 25 minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey (or am I confusing “artsy” and “trippy”?)

    Jack Nicholson said his depiction of The Joker was “pop art”, and I tend to agree.

    Almost anything by David Lynch or Tim Burton.

  2. I have to say, I pretty much hated American Psycho the movie – but I loved the book to pieces. I consider it artsy because of the low budget, the (then) unknown people involved and the weirdness of it all, with the underlying message.

    But as I said above – artsy is more intuition, it’s got to have a certain feel to it.

    Anyway – I like your additions. Even though, I wouldn’t count Kill Bill as artsy – it was cult. Two different things :)

  3. I wrote a long comment and WordPress ate it.

    So I’ll be off sulking for a bit before adding my two cents (or trying to, anyways).

    Until then: Humour and depth don’t mix?! Exploding Tinkerbell? Darjeeling Express?? Jacques Tati???

  4. I wasn’t being serious! You know me, sweetie, you know me well, would I really say such a thing and mean it?


    It’s just the general perception that if something’s funny, it can’t be good and vice versa. The same thing goes for fantasy, romance novels, chick flicks, etc. etc.

    Looking forward to reading your long comment. Sorry that WordPress ate it (it’s not in my spam thingy nor is it awaiting moderation, I checked).

  5. Okay, good. Sorry – I’m a bit slow today (I got the flu because Sebastian was frolicking in a field of flowers…or whatever).

    So – first and foremost, I don’t like the term ‘artsy’. To me, that word has a lot to do with snobbery. But I admit that it’s a fun word to say.
    So…’artsy’ movies that popped into my head right away:
    – Un chien andalou (because you can’t get more artsy than Dalì & Bunuel)
    – La Haine
    – Three Colours Trilogy
    – Dolls
    – Todo sobre mi madre
    – Belleville Rendez-Vous
    – Irréversible
    (don’t ask me where that selection came from…I have a sick, sick mind)

    I’ve also thought of a few additional indicators for possible ‘artsiness’:
    – the cast includes Isabella Rosselini
    – the director is called Fassbinder, Haneke, Bergman or Cronenberg
    – producers did not include anybody called Bruckheimer, Silver or Wachowski
    – people who aren’t hardcore cinephiles have never heard of the movie and wouldn’t even watch it if you paid them to do so (Corollary: If the movie penetrates ‘the mainstream’ any ‘artsiness’ will evaporate instantly)
    – the movie was shown at one or more film festivals (during the week and as part of the competition – suck it up, George Lucas)

  6. Don’t blame Sebastian! But I hope you get well soon…

    Artsy is a great word. The meaning, not so great. I agree that there’s much snobbery included (didn’t I get that across through my post? Obviously not…)

    Your list is really cool and your indicators are very good additions. Me likey. :)

  7. Of course I blame Sebastian. He’s a big boy, he can take it.

    You did make it clear. I just felt like spelling it out. And I couldn’t pass up a chance to use the word ‘snobbery’.

    *chants* artsy snobby artsy snobby …

  8. Could we add Zach Braff’s film “Garden State” to your Artsy list? It ticks all the boxes for me…

    Plus, I’m going to assume a guy asked this question, because he wants to impress an intelligent girl and thinks “Artsy” movies might do the trick. And nothing screams Artsy like Portman, Braff and a Shins soundtrack, does it??

  9. Garden State would be a good addition. :)

    Your theory could be right… Unfortunately, my blog stats don’t include the background of the people asking the questions. Though it would be very interesting. And sometimes probably scary.

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