The 15 Greatest Arthouse Films of all Timeby tom314 | created - 20 Oct 2012 | updated - 28 Oct 2012 | Public
Arthouse is probably the most difficult genre to define. Each person sees it differently depending on various reasons. For this list I have chosen films which I consider to be 'arthouse' mainly due to the cinematography or near poetic nature.
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1. The Tree of Life (2011)
PG-13 | 139 min | Drama, Fantasy
The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.
Votes: 148,376 | Gross: $13.30M
Terrence Malicks Palme d'Or winner is by far the most beautifully captured story of life. Sean Penn plays a man wandering for something which takes him back to childhood in Waco, Texas during the 1950's. The contrast between his mother and father is captured magnificently with his mother captured in an almost angelic light. The film is filled with stunning imagery, including a the origin of the cosmos and shot almost through a child's eyes, whilst we are left to ponder the greatest questions on existence.
2. Three Colors: Blue (1993)
R | 98 min | Drama, Music, Mystery
A woman struggles to find a way to live her life after the death of her husband and child.
Votes: 70,211 | Gross: $1.32M
The Three Colours Trilogy is one the defining arthouse moments. Blue's artist style is the stand out of the three, due to its cinematography and a beautifully told story of a woman's depression along with that incredible soundtrack.
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.
Votes: 485,804 | Gross: $56.95M
4. Melancholia (2011)
R | 135 min | Drama
Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with Earth.
Votes: 142,661 | Gross: $3.03M
After my first viewing of this film I hated it, yet I also loved it. The films opening scene is shown in an extreme slow-motion and captured beautifully, from then on its hand held work, yet still just as incredible to look at with the ending scene being something truly magnificent! What I hated about it was just how empty and depressed I was left feeling. Despite that, it's Von Trier's most beautiful and heartbreaking masterpiece.
5. Antichrist (2009)
Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, Horror
A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.
Votes: 98,217 | Gross: $0.40M
Loved by some, detested by others. Similar to Roeg's Don't Look Now, Von Trier's story of a couple's grief is dark, depressing, twisted, bizarre and Freudien. The couple, known as 'he' and 'she', He, being a therapist, takes her to the woods, almost ironically named 'Eden', to repair her grief, whilst she is writting a thesis on gynocide. The film becomes darker and more depressing whilst offering sick or fascinating theories (depending on how you choose to look at it) on women and on reality. Sick, misogynistic or genius, regardless of what you think of it, it's certainly a brilliant arthouse film.
7. The Seventh Seal (1957)
Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Fantasy
A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.
10. Breaking the Waves (1996)
R | 159 min | Drama
Oilman Jan is paralyzed in an accident. His wife, who prayed for his return, feels guilty; even more, when Jan urges her to have sex with another.
Votes: 53,251 | Gross: $4.04M
12. Don't Look Now (1973)
R | 110 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller
A married couple grieving the recent death of their young daughter are in Venice when they encounter two elderly sisters, one of whom is psychic and brings a warning from beyond.