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 artform 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 are a few cinema art movies to keep an eye on this week as they debut in select Regal theatres nationwide:
Sony Pictures Classics
Runtime: 1hr 38min
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Brendan Gleeson, Marisa Tomei, Jérémie Renier, Pascal Greggory, Vinette Robinson, Ariyon Bakare, Greg Kinnear
Directed By: Ira Sachs
Written By: Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias
Three generations have gathered for a vacation organized by family matriarch Françoise Crémont, aka Frankie (Isabelle Huppert), in the fabled resort town of Sintra, Portugal. In the course of a late summer’s day, husbands and wives, parents and children, friends and lovers, all stirred by their romantic impulses, discover the cracks between them and an unexpected depth of feeling.
Director and co-writer Ira Sachs follows up his most recent critically acclaimed movie Little Men (2016) with a family drama starring Oscar®-nominated actress Isabelle Huppert (Elle, 2016) and Oscar® winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny, 1992). Frankie premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival where it was nominated for the festival’s highest prize and one of the most prestigious awards in the film industry, the Palme d’Or.
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Runtime: 2hr 5min
Starring: Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Janelle Monáe
Directed By: Kasi Lemmons
Written By: Gregory Allen Howard (story and screenplay by), Kasi Lemmons (screenplay by)
Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and transforms into an iconic freedom fighter, using her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity to free hundreds of slaves.
Director and co-writer Kasi Lemmons returns to the big screen with the true tale of famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman six years after writing and directing her last feature, Black Nativity (2013). Lemmons previously brought the true tale of Washington D.C. radio personality Ralph “Petey” Greene to life in Talk to Me (2007). Cynthia Erivo, winner of the 2019 Hollywood Breakthrough Actress Award, stars as Harriet Tubman. Erivo recently co-starred in Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) and Widows (2018). Harriet premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.