Even as James Cameron had failed to show up in the last two weeks of the year to put another $1.4 billion in global box office sales with Avatar: the way of the water2022 would still have turned out to be a great movie year, both in terms of critical hits and bona fide blockbusters.
While you’ve probably already looked Top gun: Maverick, Glass onion, noand The Banshees of Inisherin, there are plenty of excellent movies that you may have so eluded. Here are a few.
Given its late December release, you probably missed it No bears in 2022 – but it’s still playing in theaters. The latest film from Jafar Panahi, Iran’s reigning cinematographer, premiered at the Venice Film Festival about a month after Panahi was sentenced to six years in prison after protesting the arrest of fellow filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad. Not that Panahi would make films at all: in 2010, the director – who first broke through to an international audience with films from 1995 The white balloon, a cinéma vérité style meditation on daily life in Tehran, was banned from directing for the next 20 years due to its alleged propagandistic tendencies. But like any great artist, Panahi persevered, and has gone on to compile a legacy-making filmography that includes The circle (2000), Offside (2006), and 3 faces (2018). For his latest opus, he made a film about a filmmaker named Jafar Panahi (played by himself) who is not allowed to make films and takes a daring journey to the Turkish border to create his art. While it’s a fictionalized version of the director’s life, it’s also a deeply poignant and layered reminder of the power of the cinematic art form and the true heroism it takes to fight oppression.
It is also worth noting that Panah Panahi, Jafar’s 39-year-old son, made his stellar directorial debut in 2022 with Hit the road—a film about family that perfectly complements No bears (and was in our list of the best movies of 2022).
Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells made perhaps the best directorial debut of 2022 After sun, a heartbreaking family drama that is as much a coming-of-age story as it is a gripping portrayal of mental illness. In some ways, this gives the feeling that they are two different films, each telling the same story from a unique but interrelated point of view. Normal peoplePaul Mescal delivers another brilliant performance as Calum, a struggling father who takes his 11-year-old daughter Sophie (Frankie Corio) to Turkey for a summer vacation. As Calum tries to hide his inner turmoil for the sake of his daughter, she easily sees through the facade and tries to establish a real and lasting connection with him. The chemistry between Mescal and Corio is both genuine and beautiful. Most of the film is set in the 1990s, and we witness much of their vacation through video footage viewed years later by an adult Sophie (Celia Rowlson-Hall). While the film has moments of humor and tenderness, there is a palpable tension that leads to a somewhat ambiguous ending in which Wells leaves it to the viewer to fill in the blanks. In the hands of a lesser director, that might seem like an escape; in case of After sunit only adds to the film’s poignancy.
As forthcoming Magic Mike’s Last Dance reminds us: Steven Soderbergh is definitely not retired. And given his productivity — he can easily be counted on to release one, if not two feature films a year — it’s hard to imagine him ever sticking to a resolution to quit. This is very good for film fans, since its small-scale releases, such as the one from 2021 No sudden movementare as immensely watchable as bigger budget goggles magical mike or the Ocean’s Eleven series – if not more. In KimiSoderbergh show us what Rear window could look like in our tech-obsessed, (not quite) post-pandemic world. Angela (the ever-glamorous Zoë Kravitz) is an agoraphobic voice stream interpreter for Amygdala, a soon-to-be-disclosed technology company that sells smart home devices that eavesdrop on your every move. While processing data, Angela overhears what she believes is a violent crime. But she’s met with resistance when she tries to report it, given what might be at stake for the company. But Angela, an attack survivor, can’t let go – and is forced to face her worst fears and re-enter the big, bad outside world to seek justice.
You won’t be alone
Fans of Robert Eggers’ The witch (2015) will particularly appreciate this beautifully shot horror film set in an eerie isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia. To spare the life of her newborn daughter Nevena, a mother makes a deal with the town’s infamous Wolf-Eteress (actually a witch) that she will give up the girl when she reaches her 16th birthday. Over the next year and a half, Nevena (Sara Klimoska) is secretly raised in a cave in an attempt to protect her from that witch. But when that momentous birthday arrives, Maria returns and transforms Nevena into one of her own kind, granting the teen the ability to assume the appearance of any living creature she kills. Nevena doesn’t quite understand what happened to her and is curious about discovering the world outside the cave. shoes and everything else from a succession of people who eventually teach her what it’s like to be human.
The eternal daughter
Among The keepsake (2019), The Souvenir Part II (2021), and now The eternal daughter, acclaimed British filmmaker Joanna Hogg and the ever-poignant Tilda Swinton are quickly cementing their place as one of cinema’s most brilliant director-actor combinations. After her father’s death, filmmaker Rosalind (Swinton) decides to take her mother (also Swinton) to an eerie gothic mansion that used to belong to their family, hoping to make a movie about her mother. But Rosalind gets more than she bargained for when family secrets come to the fore and it’s revealed that this mother-daughter outing may not be exactly what it seems.