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Best Films I Watched in 2022

So this year has probably been the year I have consumed the most amount of media ever in my life. With so many TV Shows and Movies, I am certainly forgetting some as I make this list. But I just felt like I would share the 14 movies(kinda) that really made me wonder and marvel over the art of filmmaking. This is obviously all subjective, but here are some recommendations I hope you won't miss.

HONORABLE MENTION - Aftersun (2022) - Directed by Charlotte Wells

I remember watching this with my mom and dad in our bedroom in Delhi and how much it managed to move all of us at the same time. The way the story is told from the shifting lenses of a father and daughter is so magical yet painful. I was blown away by the simplicity of the story of a father and daughter on a simple vacation that took such complex questions and seemed to leave them answered yet unanswered at the same time. Upon a second watch, I was even able to catch some genius ways Charlotte Wells plants the seeds of what is to come as the film reaches its heartbreaking yet heartwarming climax. A film with such beautiful emotions and immaculate craftsmanship, I'm concerned some people will tell me why it didn't make it into my top 10.

HONORABLE MENTION - (2022) - Directed by Del Kathryn Barton

This magically real world that has been created through the trauma of a young girl who witnesses rape is something to be experienced. Del Kathryn Barton is originally a fine artist who leaves her brush strokes or paint and color and vividness throughout a film which at its core should feel extremely dark and painful. I have been a kid who dealt with childhood problems by creating several imaginary creatures and friends. Watching Blaze made me realize that being a creatively scarred person isn't a crutch though it can feel like it, it is a weapon to wield and be used to burn the world that questions you.

HONORABLE MENTION - Black Phone(2022) - Directed by Scott Derrickson

I will start by saying, that I am an incredible fan of Horror films. But being so, I am also very picky about what good horror is and what isn't. But 2022 has been (in my opinion) an amazing year for horror as a genre. Black Phone is a major reason for it. I still regret that I didn't watch this film in theatres when it had released in India. But still, The Black Phone manages to creep into your skin very successfully. It has been a very long time since Hollywood or films have been able to create a new masked horror figure that can be remembered since the likes of Freddy and Jason. Scott Derrickson and Ethan Hawke manage to create one in The Grabber with this film. Ethan Hawke simply wins you with his extremely deranged performance as this child kidnapper and killer, but it is mostly the beautiful story that they weave within this and an amazing story of siblings that they tell through this film. A film without ghouls or demons or monsters that might break your immersion in a horror film, The Black Phone is certainly a film I would recommend to someone who isn't as open to Horror as a genre.

HONORABLE MENTION - Of The Dragon (2022) - Created by George R R Martin

Firstly, I know this isn't a movie. But I loved HotD so much that I had to mention it somewhere. I wasn't the biggest fan of Game of Thrones by the time it ended, much like everyone else. But I still cherish the first few seasons for their amazing grasp on character writing and storytelling. My only problem with GoT which never made me a hardcore fan from the start was its confusing narrative of not wanting to have a protagonist. With long literary books, I can see how it works with George R R Martin's writing. But translated into a show, I struggled to find a certain storyline to invest in as it kept jumping between families and stories and forgetting a few behind. Obviously, as good as it still was, it all became an utter shitshow by the end. So with HotD, I wasn't as excited or eager. But I was incredibly free and was curious about how it would fair against Rings Of Power which was also airing episodically at the same time. So I watched both shows together, and 'Oh my god!' did HotD just blow me away compared to the disappointment that was the Rings of Power(for me). I think House of the Dragon's decision to focus on just one family and particularly one or two characters was what really did it for me. The storytelling and character writing was out of this world, and though the numerous time jumps could feel jarring, they even dealt with that with perfection. I feel more invested in this one story from just one season of HotD than I had been with any story in GoTs. But I also feel someone who has never watched GoTs can absolutely enjoy and understand everything that happens in this show, which is also great as the show doesn't hold GoTs as a crutch. I don't know, I was way too impressed by this show. Even if it had some shaky moments or decisions or poor cinematography choices. I can choose to look past that.

10. AFTER YANG - Directed by Kogonada

After Yang was a true hidden gem that got lost this year. Such a unique tale of love, loss, and grief told from the lens of a science fiction film. The film was full of amazing performances, especially from Colin Farrell and Justin H Min. This near-future world is crafted with such genuine honesty and makes us question our loss of humanity as we creep into a more digital world with every passing minute. Also, this was probably the most visually stunning and beautiful film I have watched in the entire year. Director Kogonada and DoP Benjamin Loeb create such incredibly stunning visuals throughout the runtime of this film.

9. GOODLUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE - Directed by Sophie Hyde

I have always been fascinated by films that can manage to keep you entertained and intrigued by just being in the same room/space for almost the entire duration of the film. Sophie Hyde locks you up in a hotel room with two extremely charismatic characters as they awkwardly touch and move around in conversation about sex, lust, love, and family. The premise of an older woman hiring a male sex worker to finally experience her first orgasm in her late 60s is a beautiful place to start. And with amazingly written dialogue, you fall for both Leo and Nancy. A very honest, light-hearted, and funny take on the importance of intimacy and love.

8. NOPE - Directed by Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele's Nope was probably my most anticipated commercial film of this year. And though I feel Nope was the least well-received film from Peele's directional filmography, it was his best horror film in my opinion. Yes, I found it even better than Get Out.

Experiencing this film in IMAX was a big part of it. Nope isn't a conventional horror film, much like any of Peele's films, but this in particular feels the least like one. Yet Nope does something I have only felt before while watching Spielberg's Jaws. It made me afraid of the open sky. Simply walking out and looking up at the clouds would terrify me. The absolutely stunning cinematography, sound design, and score would convince you that there would be something lurking behind the clouds. Also. Keke Palmer stole the show with her performance. I know a lot of people won't agree with me on how much I loved Nope, and if you wanna discuss that. Feel free to let me know.

7. TRIANGLE OF SADNESS - Directed by Ruben Ostlund

A comedy film winning the Palm D'Or was an extremely surprising thing for me. And with that curiosity, I watched Triangle of Sadness in a cinema hall full of cinephiles who couldn't stop laughing yet contemplating their position in society throughout the runtime of the film. I have not been a part of enough standing ovations as a film's credit rolls. And this was an extremely surreal one that I watched twice in two days just to experience the magic. A truly genius way to express the divide of power, money, and entitlement, The Triangle of Sadness is scattered with amazing set pieces, stunning performances, and probably the best dialogue writing I have seen in years.

There is no character that is not written to perfection. Everyone plays a role and everyone consumes the screen with charisma as they do it. A genuine masterpiece on how to create comedic social commentary.

6. BARBARIAN - Directed by Zach Cregger

As I had mentioned with The Black Phone, this was a really good year for Horror. But as much as I was convinced that Nope would have been my favorite Horror film I watch this year, everything changed when I got to watch Barbarian. With an extremely tight script along with some genuinely amazing performances, Barbarian delivers in every way that you wish for a horror film. The premise of the film itself is so simple and believable you buy into it. And as seemingly untrustworthy characters turn more and more trustworthy, the setup turns more and more haunting. I went into Barbarian without having watched any trailers or read a synopsis or a logline. And I think that was a major reason I liked it so much, not knowing what I was getting myself into. So no story hints over here. Just go give it a watch!

5. THE WHALE - Directed by Darren Aronofsky

What is there to say about this film that hasn't already been said? Darren Aronofsky pulls off another beautiful film creating a commentary on our own humanity, living with flaws, and finding beauty in our own damaged selves. You can feel the loss, the pain, and the suffocation that everyone in the film goes through, all anchored by Brendan Fraser's breathtaking performance. I had multiple breakdowns, several times I had to just shut my eyes and look away, holding the hand of the person beside me as I watched this film in the theatre. A must-watch.

4. LA PIETA - Directed by Eduardo Casanova

This Spanish film is kind of weird. And probably not for the casual film audience. Extremely abstract, awkward, and jarringly pink, Eduardo Cassanova creates what seems like an even more extreme case of Dogtooth. But through it channels a very curious lesson of parenthood, being protective of your loved ones and controlling your children's narrative. The discomfort of La Pieta's characters weirdly seems comforting. There and some sequences which will make you whinge wanna scream at the screen, and physically want to stop something that is happening between characters. And I think films that can evoke such visceral emotions in their viewers are precious.

3. THE BLUE CAFTAN - Directed by Maryam Touzani

Simply put, the best queer film I have ever seen in my entire life. A sincere story of love, love without prejudice, love with all its black spots and white. When watching The Blue Caftan, it had completely changed my understanding of love. I realized how naive I was in my monogamous view of having only one true person. I struggle to explain why this is probably one of the best films I've seen in my entire life, and yet find the irony in how I took over a dozen pages of notes while watching this piece of art. I think shortly put, the beauty in this film lies in its perspective, in showing us the true love between an aging husband and wife while the husband tries to hold himself back from having an extramarital affair with a younger man. Every character in this film is a protagonist, everyone is human, and everyone has a different meaning of love. And no one is wrong. And that is sincerely beautiful.

2. SILENCE 6-9 - Directed by Christos Passalis

To be honest, The Blue Caftan could have easily been here and Silence6-9 on third, they are very interchangeable in my head. But the only reason why Silence 6-9 inches it above for now is my extreme personal bias toward this film. The day I had decided to want to become a filmmaker, to write and direct films was the day I watched the Greek film "Dogtooth" by Yorgos Lanthimos. That film and subsequently the entire Greek Weird Wave of cinema changed my life. It is the reason I am where I am today. Never had I imagined would i not only be able to experience the obscurity of a Greek Weird Wave film in theatres but also meet the director of Silence 6-9 - Christos Passalis, the main cast in Dogtooth, a close friend, and professional partner of my favorite director Yorgos Lanthimos. And not did this film disappoint, taking a few inspirations from works like Alpeis, Silence 6-9 creates a universe past your death. A city where you reach and check into upon being hospitalized, soon to be forgotten. A beautifully crafted tale of remembrance, of the triviality of life, and understanding how to channel the loss of your loved ones. This a true example of the Greek Weird Wave in all its glory.

  1. STUTZ - Directed by Jonah Hill

I knew the second I watched Stutz that my life has changed. I knew that this would be the best film I would have watched this entire year. I knew putting a 10/10 on a random excel sheet next to the film's name wouldn't do justice to what I had just experienced. To be clear, I'm not a fan of documentaries. I genuinely don't enjoy them as much as I enjoy fictional films. But STUTZ was different. Stutz was, as quoted by Stutz in the film itself "Either the best film ever made or the absolute worst". There is no middle ground to it. Jonah Hill's idea of interviewing his own shrink and documenting it might seem mundane, but STUTZ as a person is so charismatic, full of character, humor, and meaning that you are sodrawn to him. Their chemistry on screen is amazing, and simply put, if you suffer from mental health issues, Stutz will not just calm you, and let you appreciate yourself, but also teach you how to keep on going in life and deal with your own problems yourself. Stutz is a work of art.


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