Who doesn’t love a good blockbuster? Big budgets, thrilling action, and entertaining set pieces will continue to drive audiences to the movies, and for good reason. However, cinema art can also provide us with great moments that capture our curiosity and spark our imagination. In fact, some of the most critically acclaimed movies of all-time, and many Academy Award® winners, could be labeled as “cinema art.”
So, what is “cinema art?” Frequently produced and distributed outside the major studio system on a relatively small budget, cinema art movies typically handle serious matters in an artistic and often experimental way, geared towards more of a niche market rather than for a mass audience. In an art form where social realism takes precedence, on-location filming is favored over studio sets and sometimes amateur actors are even used.
Stretching back to the origin of movies, the genre has provided some of the most recognizable and talented filmmakers in cinema who have put their uncompromising visions onto the screen with a unique flare and style that is all their own. Foreign language movies are also included in this genre, recognizable by many of the same features with the addition of subtitles, although rarely referred to as “cinema art” in their respective countries. Instead, they are more commonly known as “auteur” or “national” cinema, the former originally coined in France to distinguish filmmakers of the French New Wave (a movement and form of European cinema art from the 1950s and 1960s).
Below is a cinema art movie to keep an eye on this week as it debuts in select Regal theatres nationwide:
THE SONG OF NAMES
Sony Pictures Classics
Runtime: 1hr 53min
Starring: Tim Roth, Clive Owen, Catherine McCormack, Jonah Hauer-King, Gerran Howell, Luke Doyle, Misha Handley
Directed By: François Girard
Written By: Jeffrey Caine (screenplay), Norman Lebrecht (based on the novel by)
In this sweeping historical drama, a man searches for his childhood best friend—a violin prodigy orphaned in the Holocaust—who vanished decades before on the night of his first public performance.
Producer Robert Lantos knew the emotional impact of the music in The Song of Names required a skilled director with a specific background. “I thought it wouldn’t be enough to have a terrific film director who just left the music to the composer,” says Lantos. “It had to be someone who is as familiar with the language of classical music as he is with the language of cinema, so he could work with a composer from a place of knowledge and conviction.” Lantos’ search led him to François Girard, the filmmaker behind the Oscar®-winning drama The Red Violin (1998). “Music is a very important vehicle in tackling this story, but to me this is not a film about music,” says Girard. “This is an intimate story of two brothers, in which the undercurrents of the Holocaust and the memory of those that disappeared, gradually emerges.”
Academy Award® nominees Tim Roth and Clive Owen star as the two friends, Martin and Dovidl, respectively. As the movie is a story about their lives at three different stages, each character is portrayed by three different actors. Misha Handley plays young Martin, who at age 17 is played by Gerran Howell, and Luke Doyle, a violin prodigy himself, plays young Dovidl, who at age 17 is played by Jonah Hauer-King.