Film Comment’s annual end-of-year survey was revealed at a special live talk this week, with David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future, Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO, and Charlotte Wells’s Aftersun taking the top spots among films released in 2022. Of the films that screened at festivals worldwide but have not announced stateside distribution, David Easteal’s The Plains, Bertrand Bonello’s Coma, and Laura Citarella’s Trenque Lauquen received the top rankings. Explore Film Comment podcasts, Q&As with filmmakers, and Film Comment reviews for each film below.
The poll was voted on by Film Comment contributors and colleagues from around the globe, including Jamsheed Akrami (scholar and filmmaker), Erika Balsom (scholar and critic), Richard Brody (The New Yorker), Maya S. Cade (Black Film Archive), Edo Choi (The Museum of the Moving Image), Monica Castillo (The Paley Center for Media), Nick Davis (FC contributing editor), Molly Haskell, Kevin B. Lee (Locarno Film Festival), Dennis Lim (Film at Lincoln Center), Violet Lucca (Harper’s Magazine), Adam Nayman (The Ringer), Andréa Picard (Toronto International Film Festival), Inney Prakash (Maysles Documentary Center), Jonathan Romney (FC contributing editor), Gavin Smith, Imogen Sara Smith, Abby Sun (International Documentary Association), Amy Taubin (FC and Artforum contributing editor), Manu Yáñez Murillo (Otros Cines Europa), Cristina Nord (Berlinale Forum), Jean-Michel Frodon, and more.
The top 20 films of 2022 were unveiled last night at a special live talk with critics Bilge Ebiri, Alissa Wilkinson, and Inney Prakash, moderated by Film Comment’s Co-Deputy Editors, Devika Girish and Clinton Krute; the lively discussion is now available on the Film Comment Podcast. Following the talk, attendees were treated to a surprise screening of Film Comment’s #1 film of 2022, Crimes of the Future. Explore photos from the live talk above.
“That the winner of this year’s poll is a strange, gory, apocalyptic film about a future where art and humanity are both on the precipice of extinction is a striking reflection of what we’re seeking from cinema in 2022,” said Girish. “And it’s exciting to see so many first and second features in the top 20—that’s an invigorating prognosis for the art form!”
“This year’s list is satisfyingly eclectic, reflecting the varying sensibilities of our contributors as well as the wide range of quality films released in 2022,” said Krute. “The same is true of our best undistributed list, which features a remarkable selection of films from around the world that we hope more people are able to see in the future.”
1. Crimes of The Future David Cronenberg, Canada/France/Greece/United Kingdom
2. EO Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland/Italy
3. Aftersun Charlotte Wells, U.K.
4. Saint Omer Alice Diop, France
5. The Eternal Daughter Joanna Hogg, U.K.
6. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed Laura Poitras, U.S.
7. In Front of Your Face Hong Sangsoo, South Korea
8. Nope Jordan Peele, U.S.
For a film with deep misgivings about the violence of seeing, and whose plot hinges on the power of not looking, Jordan Peele’s third feature is rich with indelible images. Blood and coins shower from the heavens, a C.G.I. chimpanzee rampages through a sitcom set, and dozens of objects sparkle, stream, and soar in the desert sun in a breathtaking climax. Then there’s the indescribable antagonist, a thing named Jean Jacket, that has been variously identified in reviews as flying saucer, alien, or animal. Similarly, the film, most conveniently labeled a sci-fi western, contains multitudes, like a graduate thesis on Debordian spectacle and Glissantian opacity adorned with Spielberg homages. It may also be a feature-length clapback to the first motion picture, Eadweard Muybridge’s study of a horse and a Black rider. Through the radical reframing of Peele’s lens, cinema’s inception becomes an act of racial and animal subjugation in the service of technological extraction. Nonetheless, interrogating the exploitative properties of images doesn’t stop Nope from ascending to their awe-inspiring potential. —Kevin B. Lee
9. The Novelist’s Film Hong Sangsoo, South Korea
10. The Cathedral Ricky D’Ambrose, U.S.
11. TÁR Todd Field, U.S.
12. Decision to Leave Park Chan-wook, South Korea
13. The Girl and The Spider Ramon and Silvan Zürcher, Switzerland
14. The Fabelmans Steven Spielberg, U.S.
15. One Fine Morning Mia Hansen-Løve, France
16. A Night of Knowing Nothing Payal Kapadia, India
17. Stars at Noon Claire Denis, France
18. Il Buco Michelangelo Frammartino, Italy
19. Armageddon Time James Gray, U.S.
20. TIE: We’re All Going to The World’s Fair & Benediction Jane Schoenbrun, U.S. & Terence Davies, U.K.