Twenty-Twenty Two was the first year I truly observed my viewing habits changing. Reluctantly, I’ve found myself negotiating my heinie to the movie theaters; more I find myself kicking back and relaxing at home to watch films on streamers. But the streamers, leave barely a mark on my brain. What I’ve seen in theaters, I do remember. I experience them differently. But alas, such is the way of the world these days – less cinema, more streaming. I begrudgingly admit to it but wish it wasn’t so.
This year, I saw no superhero movies. There were loads of them I’m sure, but with none did I decide to spend time and watch. Their cultural relevance is shifting, maybe shrinking. Might be the right time for it.
But this list is, traditionally, an incomplete list of films from 2022 that I end up liking because the Oscar season begins so late, and much of the Oscar pics I watch only start mid-January and end on the day of the gala. Some films this year found their way on my list through festivals; I did quite a many, either in the jury or the audience. After really going through the list of films I saw last year, it wasn’t very hard to come up with the list. So, here we go – my top 10 films of 2022!
1. MOONAGE DAYDREAM
Without a question, this hazy, dream-like documentary of my all-time favorite artist really grasped what it feels like to be a Bowie fan. It bypassed the tropes of meticulous retelling of Bowie’s story – it’s not relevant when you dive right into the wonderful, mind-bending, inebriating world of Bowie’s music. The documentary manages to celebrate the music of David Bowie better than any music documentary I’ve seen before. Truly a cinematic experience.
2. AVATAR: THE WAY OF THE WATER
After so many years of waiting, James Cameron once again shows that he’s not to be ridiculed, ignored, or in any way belittled – he is one of the great masters of cinema, and a driving force in pushing the limits of what can be brought on screen time and again. Avatar: The Way of the Water is a film that transports you again to somewhere else, a wonderful world that just sucks you in. It’s a great film, an experience, and a showcase of what’s next to come in the world of film.
Proud to say I’m friends with the directors of Vesper. I’ve walked with them through their years of struggling to put a film together, and then, seeing the genuine, beautiful, and atmospheric Vesper, I nearly cried. I’ve known Kristina and Bruno and believed they were great filmmakers, but really seeing them at it on the big screen, it’s a treat. I wish all the best for them for their next films and hope Vesper finds as many viewers over its long and internationally successful launch.
4. LA PIEDAD
Holy shit. Sometimes just going to a film festival, picking a film at random without knowing anything about it, and letting it smack you in the face is the best thing there is. La Piedad came exactly like that, from far left field, and sucker-punched me right in the kisser like a motherfucker. There’s no real need to go and describe what the film is about – a tricky relationship between a mother and her son – but the sole visual representation, the piety it’s made and the braveness of the director, La Piedad deserves a lot more attention.
Ahh, a film that opens up perfectly, really managing to creep me out! Barbarian is a really strong-directed horror film that’s as modern and artistic as nowadays changing horror audiences is requiring. It’s a great, visual fun with superb cast and some real powerhouse of a director at helm!
6. SPEAK NO EVIL
Well, the Danes sure know how to make things awkward. A friendly family visit turns into a night of absolute, awkward terror. Speak No Evil is a really powerful film that lingers on long afterward, although, I still can’t understand why she didn’t shoot them when she got the shotgun.
7. HOLY SPIDER
Bleak serial killer story of an Iranian serial killer case and it’s incredible aftermath really unearths what’s wrong with religiously supercharged, women-hating side of some cultures out there. Mind you, it’s easy to stand in shock and shake your head at Iranian culture, but truth be told, this could happen just as easily in USA, where religious fundamentalism is just as prevalent.
I gotta say, I had loads of fun with this one. One of those that you stumble upon on Netflix when they promote something for 5 seconds and then never again, but I’m glad I pressed “play” and watched this silly bit of CG fun. A troll awakens in the mountains of Norway to wreak havoc and get missiled down by Norwegian army, it’s a solid actioner with nice heart and visuals.
Another film by a friend of mine, Alexander O. Philippe, also from the film festival circuit, Lynch/Oz rams itself down a rabbit hole of Lynch’s fascination to Wizard of Oz and starts burrowing. Funky documentary which opens the world of Lynch even for a die-hard fan like me quite a bit.
10. A TREE OF LIFE: THE PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE SHOOTING
Ultra right wing ideologies rear their ugly head nowadays in US, leading to mindless killings like the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting, which was this one shit rag’s response to immigration caravans that were helped by Jewish community. Readily available guns, unchecked mental health patients roaming around and slowly growing and accepted and even lauded racist, anti-semitic and what not ideologies dot the cultural and ideological landscape of US, and tend to always echo down to Europe later on as well. The documentary explores the events leading to the shooting, bringing forward the victims much more than the perpetrator.
DISCLAIMER: Nope, there’s a load of films from 2022 I didn’t get to watch, some that would likely find their way into this end-of-the-year list, and as I’m now jumping into the Oscar films, undoubtedly many of these here would end up changing. But this is a pretty good look into what I thought was cool that came out last year, without too much of the Oscar buzz mudding the pool.