Damn, it was a good year for the movies.
2022 was my best year with new releases since at least 2018, if not longer. The gleeful time-travel Japanese comedy Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, produced in 2020 but not released on US streaming until 2022, was particularly painful to leave off, and I thought Tom Cruise would hold on just a bit longer. Reflective of the immense strength of the year, neither made my final cut, but both would have easily secured a top-five spot in the prior two.
And I’m a bit surprised, honestly, with how my favorites turned out. I expected at least one South Korean spy thriller to land a spot, perhaps an indie horror or low-budget sci-fi flick, and maybe another Cannes-type award favorite. I’m entirely shocked to not have a single Chinese language film, and never thought a Jordanian drama would end up in its stead. That’s just how the swing of things works though.
Like every critic making a best-of list, I saw comparatively little this year. Okay, okay, I saw a shit ton of new releases and most normies would be freaked out if they knew the sheer number, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing. India, for a frame of reference, produces a whopping 2000 movies a year. Even Poland, a country with a faint heartbeat of an industry, breaks 100 movies a year. That’s still a lot of movies… All of this is to say: what any critic sees is intensely curated through established palettes, trustworthy recommendations, and lucky assignments.
My list obviously carries the same limitations, so I might as well lay them out in the open. As one will gather, I’m more well caught up with Indian, South Korean, Chinese, and Middle Eastern new releases than I am with French, Brazilian, and Nigerian ones. I’m more interested in these cinemas, so I’ve just seen more. I’m also slacking a bit in horror, sci-fi, and late-year releases—and I leaned more into English language industries than I normally do. Unfortunately and admittedly, as invested in the ever-so-inequitable global cinema, my list pays the price of being more male-dominated than I’d prefer.
Some of these films were released elsewhere or at festivals prior to 2022—but for the sake of accessibility and to champion some lesser-known wonders, I’ve included all movies given a US theatrical or streaming release in 2022.
These are my favorite films of 2022.
Honorable mentions: Top Gun: Maverick (dir. Joseph Kosinski, USA); Saturday Fiction (dir. Lou Ye, China); Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (dir. Junta Yamaguchi, Japan); Mad God (dir. Phil Tippett, USA).
Continue reading at the Boston Hassle.