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An art film (also known as an art movie, specialty film, art-house film / arthouse film, or, in the collective sense, as art cinema) is typically a serious, independent film aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience. An art film is "intended to be a serious artistic work, often experimental and not designed for mass appeal"; they are "made primarily for aesthetic reasons rather than commercial profit", and they contain "unconventional or highly symbolic content".
Film critics and film studies scholars typically define an art film as possessing "formal qualities that mark them as different from mainstream Hollywood films", which includes, among other elements, a social realism style, an emphasis on the authorial expressiveness of the director and a focus on the thoughts and dreams of characters, rather than presenting a clear, goal-driven story. Film scholar David Bordwell describes art cinema as "a film genre, with its own distinct conventions".