20 October 2010 4:00 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The ideal arthouse film is set in a part of the world few of us know and even fewer intend to visit. The steppes of Central Asia or a forlorn village in Central America are fine, but rural Slovakia will do in an emergency. The arthouse film should make us feel that we understand the world better than we do, even though we don't. It should give us a sense of moral and intellectual superiority over people who go to see Tom Cruise movies. It should star Tilda Swinton, or seem like a film in which she would be likely to appear. It should be a bit grainy. Gypsies, often in distress, may be in the mix, but generally not the Amish. Ideally, a proper arthouse film should have mangled subtitles. Children should be abandoned, or on a long trip over the mountains, or trying to recover lost shoes, or »

- Joe Queenan

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