Art House (Definition)

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.


Art house (genre) is also known as arthouseart house cinema and art cinema.

Art house film (film) is also known as art film, art movie and specialty film.

art house (cinema) is also know as repertory cinemaarthouse cinema and specialty theatre.


See our review of the art house film, Werckmeister Harmóniák (2000).



  1. I’ve been through several websites and was still puzzled by what exactly an art house films is, thank you for your explanation.

  2. I have a question more than a comment. I have a completed script which adheres to the ART HOUSE movie definition. Where would I send such a script to people who might be interested in making such a movie either in The USA , England or Canada?

  3. Thank you so much. It’s so helpful when I am searching the definition of Art House film.

  4. Thanks for the post!
    I think art-house films (as a genre) generally have serious themes and are slow-paced and often hard to understand. This is the main reason that many people consider art-house movies to be boring. But when we watch them and think of their visual language we will appreciate them more.

    1. Hi Mansour. I think there will always be those who don’t have the patience for art and seek instant gratification, and those who are willing to take the time to experience new sensations. The latter type of film watcher is in the minority but I think there are still enough of us to not have to worry about the death of art house films.

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