Thursday, March 9, 2023

jeffery berg's top 10 films of 2022

2022 was a year of maximalist movies about spectacle (Elvis, Avatar: The Way of Water and Babylon) and extravagant movies about the continuing widening divide in class and social stratification (Everything Everywhere All at Once, BarbarianTriangle of Sadness, The Menu and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery). 

The year offered films of memory pieces, childhood traumas, composers, artists and writers, projectile vomiting, whales and donkeys. In the year when Roe vs. Wade decsion was overturned by the Supreme Court, many films about abortion happened to come out: Call Jane and Tbe Janes, Happening, and Lingui, The Sacred Bonds. Environmental concerns surfaced in The Dam, EOAll That Breathes, The House, The Territory and Wildcat

Even if they weren't financial successes, numerous movies about movies emerged (Babylon, The Fabelmans, Pearl, X, Last Film Show, Empire of Light). Most were set in the past, and wistful reminders of technological changes: the demise of the projectionist and the shifting away for many from the theatrical experience.  

Here goes my Top 10 films of 2022 with notables as well!



Vividly filmed and performed Chad-set drama focusing upon a mother and her daughter's pregnancy and the patriarchal society that thwarts them at every turn.



An incredible use of split screen of an ailing elderly couple (played very well by Dario Argento and Françoise Lebrun) in a drab, over-stuffed flat in France, directed with a sense of dread, horror and empathy by Gaspar Noé.



Two 13-year old friends gradually drift apart in this heartbreaking drama. The explorations into masculinity are deftly handled by filmmaker Lukas Dhont.



Breathtaking documentary of Nan Goldin's  life and also her fight against the opioid crisis, zeroing in on the Sackler family. The archival footage and imagery of Goldin's astonishing work and films of Goldin's contemporaries are so beautifully presented.



Balzac's vision is still biting all these year's later in this lush, brisk, well-acted and assembled adaptation. 



An incredible film of animal pathos, with Director Jerzy Skolimowski moving in close to the experience of a roaming donkey in the fickle and hostile world of humankind.  



Like Barry Jenkins's Moonlight, Aftersun strikes with a cumulative power. A memory piece, sometimes light-to-the-touch, and sometimes agonizing. Director Charlotte Wells's work shines admirably in her first feature-length.



I was so pleasantly surprised by Spielberg's cinematic semi-memoir--it was much funnier and adroit than I expected, and the cast is wonderful. Outside of the "awards race," it's a lovely coming-of-age film that doesn't shy away from the perspectives of being an artist, privilege and gnawing self-doubt.



The most memorable film-going experience of the year at New York Film Festival, and then the movie grew in estimation after re-watches. A vigorous, full-bodied character study from Todd Field's acid tongue script and brilliant direction. 



A gripping reimagining of the poet Siegfried Sassoon's life in the aftermath of World War I and into his later years. I went back to some of Terence Davies' previous work immediately after watching this stirring film (biting, funny, moving); he is one of our more unsung auterus with an incredibly rich and daring filmography. 

Other 2022 films of note in rough order of preference:

Pearl / X, Emily the Criminal, The Woman King, A Night of Knowing Nothing, Top Gun: Maverick, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, The Northman, Cha Cha Real Smooth, Descendant, The Girl and the Spider, Barbarian, The Banshees of Inisherin, Saint Omer, Nope, All That Breathes, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, Causeway, Stars At Noon, Nitram, Playground, The Cathedral, Empire of Light, Hit the Road, To Leslie, Sr., Argentina, 1985, In Front of Your Face, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Wildcat, Navalny, Devotion, Hold Me Tight, The Box, Bitterbrush, The Territory, A Love Song, Bones and All, Till, The Dam, Fire of Love, Petite Maman, The Outfit, Gagarine, The Eternal Daughter, Last Film Show, The Janes, Moonage Daydream, Clara Sola, Our Father, After Yang, Great Freedom, Neptune Frost, Triangle of Sadness, Kimi, Women Talking, Smile, The Batman, Happening, Watcher, Fresh, Sharp Stick, The Innocents, The Dream and the Radio, Armageddon Time, She Said, Private Desert, Scream, Bros, A Wounded Fawn, The Quiet Girl, Avatar: The Way of Water, Bodies Bodies Bodies, Nanny, The House, Hatching, Corsage. Decision to Leave,  Deep Water, The Son, The Fallout, Mad God, Speak No Evil, We Met in Virtual Reality, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, Italian Studies, Palm Trees & Power Lines, Living, Here Before, One Fine Morning, Master, The Tale of King Crab, Last Flight Home, Saloum

-Jeffery Berg

A look back at 2021 when The Worst Person in the World was my #1.

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