The best films of 2022 according to critic Richard Lawson

This year the anxiety-inducing grip of the pandemic has partially eased, the salt they reopened and film festivals they have resumed functioning as before 2020. The difficulties for the entertainment industry, and for the public, have not been overcome, but in all this chaos there have been so many works to enjoy and celebrate. So numerous, in fact, that many notable films – the hushed memoir Aftersunthe pungent tale The spirits of the islandthe family drama Broker – have not found space in this list, for the sake of brevity. The Ten Movies listed below are the ones that in my opinion shone the brightest in 2022.

10. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Courtesy of A24

On paper, the film by Dean Fleischer Camp it looks like a mistake. Based on viral short films from a decade ago, Marcel it could easily have taken the form of a lazy, cloying nostalgic work, a too-belated attempt to capitalize on a past of internet-esque quirks and quirks. On the contrary, it possesses the wistful wonder of children’s films, and carefully balances seriousness and humor. The film’s visual invention and graceful writing set it apart from many films of the same genre; Marcel addresses the little ones with their own language, gently encouraging them to think and feel more about their own life and that of the world around them. Supporting the project is the valuable voice work done by the co-screenwriter Jenny Slatewhich gives the adorable creature of the title that little spice needed to prevent it from becoming too much adorable. Wistful without being maudlin, biting without being cynical, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On it was the most touching surprise of the year, the marvelous first work of a director who, I hope, will give us many more human adventures in the future.

9. Saint Omer

Courtesy of Super LTD

The understated and gloomy film of Alice Diop it’s a courtroom drama, but not in the usual sense of the word. There are no closing arguments, no sudden revelations of important evidence. Saint Omer instead it is a measured consideration of a tragedy: the death of a newborn whose mother, Laurence (an energetic Guslagie Malanda), is accused of murder. Diop, a documentary filmmaker in her narrative debut, based her film on the true story of a Senegalese immigrant convicted of killing her own son. The director listens to Laurence with patience and compassion, wearing the clothes of Rama (Kayije Kagame), a pregnant writer who attends the trial in search of a story. As the two women reflect, publicly and privately, on their lives as black women and mothers in France, Saint Omer it whispers through the voices of many characters on the margins of what should be a progressive and egalitarian society. The slow build of this well-crafted film is powerful, as we watch it as if we are witnessing the reinvention of a now obsolete genre. Saint Omer is another valid voice that rises along with those of Atlantics from Mati Diop And Nanny from Nikyatu Jasuwho have tackled the issue of the West African diaspora with resounding force.

8. Hit the Road

©Kino International/Everett Collection.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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