UNIT 8: “Venus” | Research: Art House Cinema + Film analysis & inspiration


Art house is a film genre which encompasses films where the content and style – often artistic or experimental – adhere with as little compromise as possible to the filmmakers’ personal artistic vision. The narrative is often in the social realism style with a focus on the characters’ contemplation of their existence or immediate concerns.

An art house film is typically independently-produced, outside of the major film studio system. Major studios are reluctant to pour money into projects which are unlikely to return a profit due to the limited – often niche market – appeal of the material. Without major studio backing, art house filmmakers rarely acquire the finances for large productions nor strongly-marketed releases.

Art house filmmakers commonly use a mix of lesser-known and amateur actors, modest production sets – typically using real-world locations – and no large stunts or special effects. The filmmakers may explore and develop new filmmaking conventions in their quest to realise their visions effectively on a limited budget.

An art house is a cinema which runs art house films.

Film festivals usually include a good proportion of art house films.”

Cr: wonderfulcinema.com/art-house-definition/

Notable arthouse filmmakers include: François Truffaut, Akira Kurosawa, Richard Linklater, Michel Gondry, Ang Lee, Alfonso Cuarón, Spike Lee, Pedro Almodóvar, Darren Aronofsky and Sofia Coppola.


Arthouse/Indie Films that have inspired me: (related to this project)



Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 (2013) directed by Lars Von Trier

A film directed and written by Lars von Trier about a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac  (hypersexuality) recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating. The film is over 2 hours long and it was divided into two volumes, so if you put them together it would be over 4 hours long, like most arthouse films. And in each film, the way Joe (the “nymphomaniac”) divides the stories into chapters. Nymphomaniac is the third and final installment in von Trier’s unofficially titled “Depression Trilogy”, having been preceded by Antichrist and Melancholia.

This film highly influenced the film I’m making, specifically the “EROS” part.


Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013) dir. by Abdellatif Kechiche

A french coming of age drama, adapted from a graphic novel by the same name, that revolves around a teenager called Adèle and her life after she meets Emma, an aspiring artist with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire and to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adèle grows, seeks herself, loses herself, and ultimately finds herself through love and loss. The reason why I love this film so much is not only the captivating story, but because of the visual and artistic side of the film. Everything about this film shouts “arthouse!” and I know it will be a very big inspiration for this film.



Requiem for a Dream (2000) dir. by Darren Aronofsky

The highly criticised masterpiece by Darren Aronofsky, a series of drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep. The film depicts four different forms of drug addiction, which lead to the characters’ imprisonment in a world of delusion and reckless desperation that is subsequently overtaken by reality, thus leaving them as hollow shells of their former selves.



Raw (2017) dir. by Julia Ducournau

This is a very recent film, I went to watch in the cinema when it came out. Highly criticised and not for everyone but whether you love or hate it, it’s one of the best indie films that have come out this year.

“When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her.” this is description on IMDb but it doesn’t give the film any justice of how disturbing it truly is. But apart from the strange plot line and disturbing scenes, the film is embedded with deep symbolism and if you ignore the disturbing nature of some scenes, it was really well made and it’s very visually pleasing and I think that’s the aspect that I like the most about this film and what I’m going to use in my film.



La Belle Personne (2008) dir. by Christophe Honoré

Sixteen-year old Junie changes high school mid-year, following the death of her mother. She finds herself in the same class as her cousin Mathias, who introduces her to his friends. All the boys want to date Junie, and she chooses the quietest among them, Otto Cleves. But soon after, she encounters the great love of her life, Nemours, her Italian teacher. The passion that burns between them is, however, doomed. Junie refuses to give in to her feelings and persists in denying herself happiness, which in her eyes is merely illusory.

This film truly shows what most arthouse/indie films are about, the cliches are there as well as the confusing plot line.




Paris is Burning (1990) dir. by Jennie Livingston

Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it. Some critics consider the film to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the “Golden Age” of New York City drag balls, and a thoughtful exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America. In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

A big reason why I put it on this list of films that inspire me for this project, is again the visuals and the way it was filmed.


This is a compilation of some clips that have inspired me in this film.

For “EROS” part of the film, this is what I had in mind. The colours, the shots, the concept is exactly what I had in mind to represent the eros types of love, in those scenes I want to show closeness and intimacy without being graphic or overly sexual.

When I watched Nymphomaniac Vol. 1, one thing that stood out for me was the style of editing; the whole film is Joe, the main character, telling her story to the man who helped her and while telling her story. The man would always make comments related to fishing or music and it would show cutaways of what he was talking about. So I really want to use that technique for this film.

Other examples of what I mean.

My favourite scene from Nymphomaniac is the one above, if it’s applicable I want to use a similar editing style for my film. Another thing that I want to use for my film is a similar to the GIF below, to divide each “stage”/”type of love” from each other, so the audience understands better, I want to name them like that. From what I’ve seen it was used a lot in the 80s/90s.


One of the types of love is Mania, which to me it’s that stage in love when you have a crush on someone and your brain becomes similar to a person on cocaine or with OCD. So I want to have the same quick paced style as Aronofsky did in Requiem for a dream. Show the effects of attraction on the brain and on your body (i.e. pupil dilating).

This effect is achieved by playing with light to dilate pupils.

For the first scene in the film, I love this concept of people meeting like this, I want to use something similar but instead I want to maybe have the two people sat on two sides of a room and looking at each other, maybe from over a book?

At 3:28 in the above video, the POV shots of Adele looking at Emma, I really love it for the EROS part of the film. I think it’s a good way to show intimacy and that affection for another person.

I love this scene because of the simplicity of it. This old music starts playing, and she is sat there admiring it in a way. I love that so I want to take that simple concept but making it “x person meets x person” situation. So I imagine, some old song is playing, one person is sat down, sitting on their coffee, reading a book and then notices the other person and they steal looks hiding behind their book. They smile at each other and steal little looks but the whole scene is simple and all you can hear is the noise from people around the cafe and the song playing.


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