Welcome to the UPP’s Top Ten Films of the 2022! A couple of weeks ago, we asked our staff and volunteers to vote for their favourite new releases from the past twelve months. Whether you’re a fan of documentaries, romantic dramas, action-packed thrillers, or erotic French body-horrors featuring fornicating cars, there’s been something for everyone to enjoy the cinema this year. So without further ado, let’s dive into the top ten films of 2022 as voted by our staff and volunteers.
10. Flux Gourmet
Is anyone making films like Peter Strickland? Focussing on a group of outsider musicians who turn food into art, Flux Gourmet is a strange and often literal audiovisual feast. With his usual blend of elaborate sound design and wicked humour, Strickland once again serves up the goods while leaving us hungry for whatever he does next. Available to rent on BFI Player.
This hugely moving documentary about a refugee’s journey out of Afghanistan and across Europe has only increased in poignancy as the year has progressed. Stunningly told through animation, this heartrending tale not only portrayed a deeply personal tale about one man’s coming-of-age and homosexual awakening, but also presented a universal story about the plights of refugees. Available to watch on Disney Plus (subscription required).
8. Everything Everywhere All At Once
After the release of their previous film Swiss Army Man (aka, the farting corpse comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe), it is somewhat of a surprise to see filmmakers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert produce one of the most enduring box office hits of the year. Michelle Yeoh gave one of the performances of the year as a Chinese-American immigrant who discovers that she must connect with parallel universe versions of herself to prevent a powerful being from destroying the multiverse. Sounds complicated? Don’t worry too much about that. Everything Everywhere All At Once was an undisputed crowd-pleaser that audiences came to see at the cinema again and again. Available to watch on Amazon Prime (subscription required).
7. Paris, 13th District
The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005), A Prophet (2009), Rust and Bone (2012), Dheepan (2015), and The Sisters Brothers (2018) is quite a run of films by French filmmaker Jacques Audiard. Thankfully the good form continued this year with this sensual story of love in Paris that gorgeously reflected shifting modern attitudes towards sexual identity and fidelity. Available to watch on MUBI (subscription required).
One of the most shockingly visceral and yet somehow exquisitely tender films of year came courtesy of Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or winning body-horror, Titane. The film follows a woman serial killer on the run, swapping genders, getting impregnated by a car, and deceiving a grieving father into thinking that she is his missing son. Bonkers? Yes. Brutal? Yes. Beautiful? 100% yes. Available to watch on MUBI (subscription required).
5. Boiling Point
Shot in a single take, Phillip Barantini’s electrifying pressure cooker drama took us in the heart of a busy professional kitchen on a particularly frenzied evening. Stephen Graham is brilliantly cast in the main role, delivering a frantic performance as a head chef on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Kind of like the stress-inducing anxiety of Uncut Gems (2019), don’t watch Boiling Point if you’re in the mood for a nice, relaxing watch. Available to watch on Netflix (subscription required).
4. Moonage Daydream
David Bowie fans rejoiced when this kaleidoscopic documentary exploring the musician’s creative, spiritual, and musical journey was released into cinemas. They weren’t to be disappointed. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Brett Morgen weaves, blends, and manipulates archival footage of Bowie to present an extraordinary portrait of one of the 20th-century’s most iconic artists. See it loud and see it big! Available to rent on Apple TV.
3. Compartment No. 6
Two strangers meet on a train and fall in love. Sounds like a simple enough premise. One that’s been done countless times before. But Juho Kuosmanen’s award-winning drama had a raw, sensual power was impossible to deny. The film drew comparisons with Brief Encounter and Richard Linklater’s ‘Before’ trilogy when it was released, and those in the mood for love were treated to a bittersweet tale of human connection. Available to rent on Apple TV.
2. The Worst Person in the World
Part subversive rom-com and part unconventional character study, Joachim Trier’s tale of love in Oslo was a festival phenomenon after it’s premiere at Cannes in 2021 (with Renate Reinsve taking the award for Best Actress). We had to wait a year for the film to arrive in the UK and it was certainly worth the wait. A brilliant mix of humour, creative story-telling, and superb music meant that the film not only earned a whole host of awards (31 in total according to IMDB), but also won our hearts. Available to watch on MUBI (subscription required).
1. The Banshees of Inisherin
After sweeping the awards circuit with Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri, Martin McDonagh returned with another black comedy that proved to be a huge hit with audiences and film critics alike. However, unlike Three Billboards, The Banshees of Inisherin finds McDonagh in a much more poetically melancholic mood. Sure, there are still laughs to be had in this tale of two friends who inexplicably fall out on an isolated Irish island. But this minor-key masterpiece has a soulful sadness that runs deep through the film’s astonishing screenplay, stunning cinematography, and terrifically acted leads (Colin Farrell, Kerry Condon, and Barry Keoghan all on top form). Unmissable. Available to watch on Disney Plus (subscription required).