2022 POLL

Credit: Neon

Each year, we ask our contributors for their favourite films of 2022, alongside their best discoveries. The lists are aggregated to compile Cinema Year Zero’s films of the year:

  1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras)
  2. Nope (Jordan Peele)
  3. Saint Omer (Alice Diop)
  4. Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg) 
  5. The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh)
  6. Aftersun (Charlotte Wells) 
  7. Top Gun: Maverick (Joseph Kosinski) 
  8. Vortex (Gaspar Noé)
  9. The Quiet Girl/An Cailín Ciúin (Colm Bairéad)
  10. Benediction (Terence Davies) 

-The Ballots-

Ben Flanagan


  1. The Munsters (Zombie)
  2. RRR (Rajamouli)
  3. Elvis (Luhrman)
  4. All My Friends Hate Me (Gaynord) 
  5. Dry Ground Burning (Pimenta, Queirós)
  6. Saint Omer (Diop)
  7. Stars at Noon / Both Sides of the Blade (Denis)
  8. The Plains (Easteal)
  9. Avatar: The Way of Water (Cameron)
  10. Irma Vep (Assayas)


  • Hellraiser (1987 – 2022) 
  • 3D rep screenings: Dial M For Murder, The Mask, Avatar, Creature From the Black Lagoon
  • Dawn of an Evil Millennium (Packard, 1988) 
  • Saint Jack (Bogdanovich, 1979) & The Dead (Huston 1987) (via Badlands Film Collective
  • Bones (Dickerson, 2001)
  • FIlms of Takashi Ito
  • Green Snake (Tsui, 1993)
  • The Channel Awesome Trilogy: Kickassia, Suburban Knights, To Boldly Flee (2010 – 2012)
  • The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Pasolini, 1964)
  • Les Sièges de l’Alcazar (Moullet, 1989)
  • King Lear (Godard, 1987) 

Kirsty Asher 


  • All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras)
  • The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh)
  • Benediction (Terence Davies)
  • Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti in Six Chapters (Leah Gordon, Eddie Hutton-Mills)
  • Red Rocket (Sean Baker)
  • Nope (Jordan Peele)
  • Three Thousand Years of Longing (George Miller)
  • Fire of Love (Sara Dosa)
  • Utama (Alejandro Loayza Grisi)
  • Boiling Point (Philip Barantini)


  • The Ballad of Tam-Lin (Roddy McDowell, 1970)
  • Penda’s Fen (Alan Clarke, 1974)
  • Memories of Matsuko (Tetsuya Nakashima, 2006)
  • Green Snake (Tsui Hark, 1993)
  • La Chiesa (Dario Argento, 1989)
  • Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman, 1957)
  • Q (Larry Cohen, 1982)
  • Tommy (Ken Russell,1975)
  • Crossing Delancey (Joan Micklin Silver, 1988)
  • Dr Heckyl and Mr Hype (Charles B. Griffith, 1980)

Cathy Brennan


  1. Benediction (Terence Davies)
  2. Our Bodies Are Your Battlefields (Isabelle Solas)
  3. Cette Maison (Miryam Charles)
  4. Robe of Gems (Natalia López)
  5. Next Sohee (July Jung)
  6. The Quiet Girl (Colm Bairéad)
  7. Till (Chinonye Chukwu)
  8. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras)
  9. Three Minutes: A Lengthening (Bianca Stigter)
  10. Man vs Bee (David Kerr)

The order of this list is unimportant. Benediction is my personal favourite. Danielle Deadwyler in Till gave the single best performance. Robe of Gems was formally incredible. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed left me in a terrible state, which was exacerbated by the vulnerability that comes with being in a crowded British press screening. Went into Three Minutes not knowing what to expect and came out shattered. Next Sohee ticked my boxes in terms of slow-burning social critique and personal relatability.

The Quiet Girl is emotion-driven film-making which is something I try to prioritise in these lists. Our Bodies Are Your Battlefields was an underseen documentary about trans rights activism in Argentina that I loved. My other priority for these lists is to uplift films that other critics neglected.

Some films that were seriously considered for this list were Funny Pages, Ali & Ava, Jeong-sun, 1976, Our Lady of the Chinese Shop and The Banshees of Inisherin.


  1. Finding Christa (Camille Billops, James Hatch)
  2. Maangamizi: The Ancient One (Martin Mhando, Ron Mulvihill)
  3. Dessert for Constance (Sarah Maldoror)
  4. Schmoedipus (Barry Davis)
  5. Sex, Lies, Religion (Annette Kennedy)
  6. Outlaw Poverty, Not Prostitution (Carol Leigh)
  7. Is This Fate? (Helga Reidemeister)
  8. The Joycean Society (Dora García)
  9. Green Snake (Tsui Hark)
  10. Tri (Aleksander Petrović

Order is also not important here. First three films were seen at Cinema Rediscovered in July. Thank you to everyone who brought those films (and more) to Bristol. In particular, thanks to those who worked on the bell hooks: Reel to Real and the Women’s Stories from the Global South (& To Whom They Belong) strands. Two films (Sex, Lies, Religion and Is This Fate?) were seen thanks to the team at Another Screen, so thank you to them for their work. The Joycean Society was seen as part of the Takeover program on e-flux. Thank you to Julian Ross for his work on that. Tri was seen because of Fedor Tot’s emphatic recommendation. Thank you to him and Ehsan Khoshbakht for screening it at Close-Up this summer. Green Snake was watched with fellow CYZ editors past and present  with Paul Farrell. Thank you to Paul, the ultimate Tsui Hark fan, for finally getting us to watch Maggie Cheung defeat an incel by making him spunk his pants. Schmoedipus and Outlaw Poverty, Not Prosititution were seen because of my own personal curiosity. Thank you to me and thank you to Carol Leigh for uploading your work onto the Internet Archive, may you rest in peace.

Alonso Aguilar


  1. L’Envol, dir. Pietro Marcello
  2. Mato Seco Em Chamas, dir. Joana Pimenta & Adirley Queirós
  3. Elvis, dir. Baz Luhrmann
  4. Pacifiction, dir. Albert Serra
  5. Coma, dir. Bertrand Bonello
  6. Jackass forever, dir. Jeff Tremaine
  7. Fogo-fátuo, dir. Joao Pedro Rodrigues
  8. The Munsters, dir. Rob Zombie
  9. Answering The Sun, dir. Rainer Kohlberger
  10. AmbuLAnce, dir. Michael Bay 


  1. Los Inundados (1962), dir. Fernando Birri
  2. A Night To Dismember (1983), dir. Doris Wishman
  3. The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926), dir. Henry King
  4. Walker (1987), dir. Alex Cox
  5. Cien Niños Esperando un Tren (1988), dir. Ignacio Agüero
  6. The Sea Wolf (1941), dir. Michael Curtiz
  7. Bang Bang (1971), dir. Andrea Tonacci
  8. Hudutların Kanunu (1966), dir. Lufti Akad
  9. Naufragio (1978), dir. Jaime Humberto Hermosillo
  10. Muna Moto (1975), dir. Jean-Pierre Dikongue-Pipa 

Thomas Atkinson 

  • The Grid: Ambulance (Bay)/Los (Benning)
  • Blood of my Blood: Avatar: The Way of Water (Cameron)/Kannathil Muthamittal (Ratnam)
  • When They Go High: Cold Wind Blowing (Copland)/Shocker (Craven)
  • A Woman Becoming: Coma (Bonello)/Esther Kahn (Desplechin)/Blue Sky Maiden (Masumura)
  • Mind Map: Crimes of the Future (Cronenberg)/Liberté et Patrie (Godard)/Autofiction (Lertxundi)
  • The Void Gazes Back: Pacifiction (Serra)/Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid (Gimpo)
  • Moves Slow: The Plains (Easteal)/Roadgames (Franklin)/Ghost Comb (Knight)
  • Watch Him Work: Rewind and Play (Gomis)/Dirty Ho (Lau)
  • Knowing Me, Knowing You: Saint Omer (Diop)/Spacy (Ito)
  • Mosaic: The United States of America (Benning)/Radioactive Dreams (Pyun)/June 17th, 1994 (Morgen)

I’m flaunting the rules; sue me. One new film per spot on the list, but each is twinned with a discovery that felt just as invigorating. This is a picture of my year, less complete than full. Godard gets a spot; so does Pyun. I plan to spend at least a bit of the holidays catching up on the Holy Spirit of that 2022 Memoriam Trinity, Jean-Marie Straub. I cheated even by my own rules – there’s several triple-bills on here, which puts me 4 spots over on my discoveries list – but let that not seem like the work of a glutton struggling to fit the best of the best in. Perhaps the one great lesson I learned in 2022 was the treasure of time. After leaving Cinema Year Zero as an editor, for the simple reason that I did not have the time to spare for a project that deserved it, I have attempted to give back to the universe in some sense. 

These are 24 films to which I wholeheartedly gave my attention, and want none of it back. I’m paring down, curating more, deciding what really interests me, where I want to keep digging. How fitting that the only director to appear twice, in both the new and old categories, is that great shaman of time and attention, James Benning. 

Nadira Begum 


1. One Fine Morning

2. Bones & All

3. White Noise

4. The Banshees of Inisherin

5. Nope

6. Bodies Bodies Bodies

7. The Quiet Girl

8. The Batman

9. Emily

10. Enola Holmes 2 (very serious)


1. Dead Poets Society (1989)

2. Paterson (2016)

3. Sweet Charity (1969)

4. The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)

5. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

6. The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)

7. Casino Royale (2006)

9. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

10. Unbreakable (2000)

If you had asked me this question a year ago, you would’ve received a much more interesting new discoveries list. It seems that I spent this year rewatching Twilight every two months and fixing my Daniel Craig/James Bond knowledge instead of venturing out.

Rose Dymock


  • Athena – a petrol bomb to the sense, the best constructed first ten minutes of a film I’ve seen.
  • Aftersun 
  • Decision to leave 
  • Boiling point – a film that transported me back to waitressing and joys and anxieties that come with it. 
  • Venetian men – a short film seen at Women X  Film Festival about the effortless adventures of teenage girls and their Venice holiday in the 1990s.
  • A room of my own – how to make a unique pandemic film
  • Unrest
  • Compartment no 6
  • Paris 13th district 
  • The lost city 


  • Umbrellas of Cheurborg 
  • Om shanti om
  • Bad lieutenant 
  • Labyrinth (Armenian)

Anna Devereux 


  • An Cailín Ciúin (Bairéad)
  • Elvis (Luhrmann)
  • All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Poitras)
  • The Banshees of Inisherin (McDonagh)
  • Aftersun (Wells)
  • Licorice Pizza (Anderson)
  • Top Gun: Maverick (Kosinski)
  • Nope (Peele)
  • All My Friends Hate Me (Gaynord)
  • Confess, Fletch (Mottola)


  • Bones (2001, Dickerson)
  • Meet Me in St. Louis (1944, Minnelli)
  • Friday Foster (1975, Marks)
  • Miami Vice (2006, Mann)
  • All That Jazz (1979, Fosse)
  • Bringing Out the Dead (1999, Scorsese)
  • Margaret (2011, Lonergan)
  • Holiday (1938, Cukor)
  • Michael Clayton (2007, Gilroy)
  • The Dead (1987, Huston)

Paul Farrell


=1. The Quiet Girl (Bairéad) 

=1. Crimes of the Future (Cronenberg) 

3. Water Gate Bridge AKA The Battle at Lake Changjin II (Lam/Chen/Tsui) 

4. Memoria (Apichatpong) 

5. The Munsters (Zombie) 

6. Cold Wind Blowing (Copland) 

7. Ambulance (Bay) 

8. Dark Glasses (Argento) 

9. Vikram (Lokesh) 

10. Ali & Ava (Barnard)


  1. Deadbeat at Dawn (Van Bebber)
  2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Lee)
  3. My Dinner with Andre (Malle)
  4. In Order Not to Be Here (Stratman)
  5. 5. Violence at Noon (Oshima)
  6. Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Banno)
  7. North by Northwest (Hitchcock)
  8. The Boys of Summer (Haddad)
  9. Jacaranda Joe (Romero) 
  10. Too Old to Die Young (Refn)

Digby Houghton 

  1. One Fine Morning (Mia Hansen-Løve)
  2. Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  3. The Stranger (Thomas Wright)
  4. Holy Spider (Ali Abbasi)
  5. Wanda (Barbara Loden, 1970)
  6. Vortex (Gaspar Noé)
  7. Innocence (Lucile Hadžihalilović, 2004)
  8. The Afterlight (Charlie Shackleton)
  9. Franklin (Kasimir Burgess)
  10. Top Gun: Maverick

Esmé Holden


  1. Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg)
    • At the end of his career, David Cronenberg looks back at the reactionary elements of his work with regret and pain. It’s his funniest and most relaxed movie, but in it he finds a dramatic redemption, an acceptance of the changing of the body (which has resonated with just about every trans person I know). In doing this, the ardently atheistic filmmaker can only look to the transcendent, ending on a visual quote from The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
  2. In Front of your Face / The Novelist’s Film (Hong Sang-soo)
    • A diptych about finding beauty in the face of death. In Front of Your Face shows how it can only be found in impermanence, because that’s what all things in life are; any hint of eternity is only a delusion. After it’s been found, The Novelist’s Film is about creating a life that can sustain it, spending time only with people you care about and doing things you find inspiring. Hoping to keep a hold of it, of beauty, for as long as you can. As long as you have left. 
  3. Cordillera of Dreams (Patricio Guzmán)
    • The final film in Patricio Guzmán’s trilogy connecting the geography and political history of Chile wanders into the abstraction of poetry without ever allowing it to get in the way of precise analysis. When Guzmán asks what the Cordillera would say after all the horrors it’s watched over, it answers: on a path made from the mountains’ stone we see the carved names of the people murdered on it. Rather than mythologising history, which the film is explicitly fighting against, poetry shows it more clearly; it gives life to what might become cold and abstract facts. 
  4. Section 1 (Jon Bois)
    • Jon Bois continues with the theme of randomness in his most suspenseful film where the best outcome of this American Football game is a totally boring loss, so that everyone will leave the stadium before a plane crashes into it. Bois shows us how all the chaos of the world can align perfectly, it’s all the more moving because it happened for no good reason; it was a secular miracle. 
  5. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (Jane Schoenbrun)
    • The Internet might seem like a free space to express yourself in whatever way you want, but its quiet structures inform that expression; the medium gives the message shape. Jane Schoenbrun’s debut feature quite bracingly shows how artificial and silly the results of this can be, but never doubts that the feelings underneath are genuine and true. The ambiguity of the internet might seem an apt conduit for teenage (or transgender) feelings not yet understood, but it only serves to obscure them more, in a kind of self-absorption that only alienates people from themselves.
  6. No Bears (Jafar Panahi)
    • A film made on the edges, literally on the border of a country that’s about to collapse in on itself, it’s Jafar Panahi’s darkest movie. Instead of finding complexity within a simple premise, No Bears is dense, complicated and sometimes hard to follow; it feels like a lot of detail is lost watching it as a foreigner. If its focus seems scattershot, it comes together in an incredibly powerful final act with echoes of Sansho the Bailiff (1954), feeling similarly huge and bleak, uncomfortably foreshadowing what was about to come in Panahi’s country and personal life. 
  7. Benediction (Terence Davies)
    • Quite similar to Terence Davies’ previous film, A Quiet Passion (2018), but is richer because the two parts—one of hyper-articulate wit and one facing the bleakness of death—aren’t neatly segmented. It slips back and forth through memory, managing to have morbid and sexy scenes work right next to each other, even if the joy in Siegfried Sassoon’s life, and by proxy Davies’, slowly fades to basically nothing. 
  8. Three Thousand Years of Longing (George Miller)
    • The biggest surprise of the year, George Miller’s passion project and inevitable box office failure looked lame and cornball. And maybe it is, but its core feels so true that it imbues the rest with its light, that the obsession with stories and art, whether you’re an artist, an academic or an audience member, speak to a deep loneliness and melancholy. A desire to escape into another world—into a fanatical world with Djinn or into your own head with something intellectually engaging—or maybe it’s just to get away from your life for a little while, it doesn’t really matter where to. 
  9. The Tsugua Diaries (Maureen Fazendeiro & Miguel Gomes)
    • Maureen Fazendeiro and Miguel Gomes’ first film together is a celebration of collaboration and all the little highs and lows of living together. From squabbles about who drank whose milk to the building of a butterfly house, or rather, the opposite, as the days are shown in reverse order. Much like with Hong Sang-soo, the narrative then comes from the structure rather than the action, from the gaps in context slowly filled in. The way this allows the film to loop around on itself is quite beautiful: as it shows the film within the film and the butterfly house being unmade, it shows itself being made; it invites us into that creation. 
  10. Saint Omer (Alice Diop)
    • Movies that like to think of themselves as emphatic often only look for it in places comfortable and familiar, flattening everyone together as having a lot more in common than we think. But in Saint Omer, Alice Diop looks at people who have done things beyond comprehension and doesn’t try to judge nor explain them. Any explanation can only seem half-formed because all people can only be partly understood. To make a finer point of that, to imagine someone as totally alien from you, is therefore a choice, something the film directly challenges. If it’s striking to meet the eyes of the woman in the trial at the film’s centre it’s not because you’re looking into a void, but because you aren’t. 


  1. Election Campaign 1932 (1933, Ella Bergmann-Michel)
  2. The Harvey Girls (1946, George Sidney)
  3. The Big Snooze (1946, Robert Clampett) 
  4. Aag (1948, Raj Kapoor)
  5. Monkey Business (1952, Howard Hawks)
  6. Alphaville (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
  7. Trafic (1971, Jacques Tati)
  8. Green Snake (1993, Tsui Hark)
  9. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (1998, Takashi Annō)
  10. The Gleaners & I (2000, Agnes Varda)

Ellisha Izumi


  1. Resolving ‘Your Biggest Fan’ (Stef Aranas)
  2. Do Revenge (Jennifer Kaytin Robinson)
  3. Decision to Leave (Park Chan-wook)
  4. Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve)
  5. TÁR (Todd Field)
  6. After Yang (Kogonada)
  7. Deep Water (Adrian Lyne)
  8. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (Sophie Hyde)
  9. Not Okay (Quinn Shephard)
  10. Funny Pages (Owen Kline)

Sadly, there are no clear favourite features for me in 2022 so I decided to give the number 1

spot to a short that I love that got me excited about the future of filmmaking: Resolving

‘Your Biggest Fan’ a brilliant meta-doc by a trans filmmaker trying to finish her graduate film

during a COVID lockdown. Similarly, Funny Pages snuck in at number 10 despite its third act

problems as its visceral comedy promises an exciting future from writer/director Owen


Several films on this list also impressed me with deft scripts that I kept returning to long

after watching: the exploration of diaspora through sci-fi metaphor in After Yang, of

sexuality in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, and a thorough examination of privilege in the

underrated Not Okay.

Honourable mentions go to Sharp Stick (Lena Dunham), Bones and All (Luca Guadagnino),

and Austin Butler for a great performance in a mixed bag film (Elvis), which had dazzling

highs in sea of lows. Filmmakers I’m eager to see more from include Jane Schoenbrun

(We’re All Going to the World’s Fair) and Monia Chokri (Babysitter).

best discoveries of 2022

1. And So We Put Goldfish in the Pool. (2017, Makoto Nagahisa)

2. Turksib (1929, Victor Turin)

3. Something’s Gotta Give (2003, Nancy Meyers)

4. Trust (1990, Hal Hartley)

5. Lost in London (2017, Woody Harrelson)

6. Boogiepop and Others (2000, Ryu Kaneda)

7. Tokyo Blood (1993, Gakuryu Ishii)

8. Keane (2004, Lodge Kerrigan)

9. Fury (1936, Fritz Lang)

10. Queen of Diamonds (1991, Nina Menkes)

Honourable mentions for phenomenal repertory cinema experiences:

A. The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962, George Pal, Henry Levin) in Cinerama

at Widescreen Weekend

B. Forever a Woman (1955, Kinuyo Tanaka) at Cinema Rediscovered

C. Unstoppable (2010, Tony Scott) in 35mm at The Prince Charles Cinema

Ioanna Micha 


  1. Decision to Leave by Park Chan-wook
  2. Tár by Todd Field
  3. The Fabelmans by Steven Spielberg 
  4. After Yang by Kogonada
  5. Everything Everywhere All at Once by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
  6. The Eternal Daughter by Joanna Hogg 
  7. The Banshees of Inisherin by Martin McDonagh
  8. Magnetic Fields by Giorgos Gousis
  9. Barbarian by Zach Cregger
  10. Athena by Romain Gavras


  1. La Paloma (1974) by Daniel Schmid
  2. Lola Montès (1955) by Max Ophüls
  3. My Night at Maud’s (1969) by Éric Rohmer
  4. How Green Was My Valley (1941) by John Ford 
  5. The Trial (1962) by Orson Welles 
  6. Taste of Cherry (1997) by Abbas Kiarostami
  7. Le Bonheur (1965) by Agnès Varda
  8. Force Majeure (2014) by Ruben Östlund
  9. Our Little Sister (2015) by Hirokazu Koreeda
  10. Murder on the Orient Express (1974) by Sidney Lumet

Sam Moore


10 – Top Gun: Maverick

A swansong for Tom Cruise, the last movie star on the planet, all wrapped up in what’s

wonderful and frustrating about the blockbuster. Legitimately breathtaking and visceral

action sequences; the jingoistic relationship to the military; and the prevailing, but tenuous

grasp of the status quo on the rest of world. Not a nostalgic sequel to a decades-old

original film, but a moving, sobering comment on what’s become of cinema – and one of its

most famous, full-throated exponents – since the 80s.

9 – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Another sequel, but this one much more contemporary. And capital-c Contemporary might

be the best way to describe Glass Onion, a film that wears its layers – and its own love with

and fascination for them – on its impeccably tailored sleeve. The man-child billionaire who

invites old friends to his private island is exactly the type of person who would buy Twitter

and run it into the ground. But the terminally online politics of this film – something it shares

with its predecessor, even if they’re less blunt here – aren’t the appeal: its the joy of a great

cast peeling back the layers of a classic mystery. A puzzle box to relish in solving.

8 – All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Nan Goldin tells the story of her life and work with the help of Laura Poitras. Goldin refuses

to look away, which means that the film makes us look on, unblinking, with her. A

testament on the power of art and activism; the need for political engagement and

challenging institutions; and the small tragedies and triumphs that build up to a life worth

living, fighting for, and saving.

7 – Crimes of the Future

David Cronenberg at his most explicitly romantic. Not a body-horror, or even a horror at all,

but instead a delightfully perverse love story about what our bodies – and the stories we tell

with them, the art that they help us to make – might be heading next. While it might be a

simplification to add that David Cronenberg said trans rights, he dd, and that still feels like

it matters.

6 – The Banshees of Inisherin

No man is an island in this tragicomedy, no matter how much one of them might want to

be. What begins as a platonic breakup becomes a kind of philosophical showdown on

what makes life worthwhile. Career best work from both leading men, and a final sequence

that’s unshakeable. These banshees might not be screaming, but their words will burrow

into you all the same.

5 – Aftersun

The film I’ve spent the most time thinking about since I initially saw it this year, and every

time I sit with it, I come away thinking that it was even better. Magical and wondrous in a

way that only cinema can be; it cuts deep in a way that doesn’t even become clear until

long after the end, when all those old wounds open up again.

4 – White Noise

The scariest film of the year, wringing out every possible drop of horror from a laundry list

of contemporary anxieties that range from the mundane to the existential, what’s most

surprising about White Noise is just how effortlessly it fits into Baumbach’s filmography. At

its heart – and it has a big one – is a marriage; two people who are almost desperately in

love with each other, and all of the power, fear, and joy that comes with it.

3 – Nope

Cinema of the spectacle as a funhouse mirror; daring you to look away. Possibly Peele’s

best work yet; full of mystery and nuance. Steven Yeun gives one of the most underrated,

heartbreaking performances of the year and does more in a single scene – talking about an

SNL sketch in a kitschy room of career merchandise – than most actors do with entire


2 – Decision to Leave

Total cinema: all aspects of the medium working at full force to create something that’s

dazzling in a way that feels almost impossible. Breathtaking in its visual storytelling, and

obsessive in its details as a way to fit the shapeshifting story at the centre of it.

1 – You Won’t Be Alone

The mute, body-swapping witch at the centre of You Won’t Be Along is constantly asking

themself about what kind of place the world is: if its frightening, rotten, broken, beautiful. It

becomes all of these things and more in the most singular cinematic achievement of the

year. There’s nothing else like it.


All Male Mashup / V.O.

Immediately cheating by putting two films in my ten slot – a pair of archival excavations by

artist and writer William E. Jones that explore the narrative beats of adult cinema. From

pulsing, fragmented cruising narratives; to the contrast between erotic image and

intellectual dialogue, Jones understands what gets cinema hot under the collar.


Bleak, relentless, and hypnotic. Makes other philosophically driven crime thrillers look

pedestrian and dreary, through both its construction of an increasingly barren Tokyo, to the

ease with which it pries open doors to the darkest, most morbidly inviting corridors. Gets

under the skin and doesn’t leave.


An experimental horror of light and darkness, both visually and thematically. From its first

moments the images are arresting, and the stop-start structure is a dark, absurdist delight.

Doesn’t so much hurtle towards the inevitability of tragedy as walk towards it in a daze,

always looking for something to illuminate an unforgiving world until the last moment.


The best “shouting at the screen in surprise” movie that I saw this year – never goes where

you expect, and never stops moving. There are a few puzzle boxes and mysteries across

these lists, and this is the one that’s most likely to grab you and not let go.


The last time I did a CYZ discovery list, I had Interstellar on it, and this feels like it occupies

that same space: something that’s surprising for me not to have seen. Spielberg is the

great cinematic humanist; offering the audience the ability to see the world anew every



Deconstructing the samurai – as a historical figure and cinematic one – and daring to call

every tradition that came before it hollow and meaningless. There are moments of brutal

violence, and visual serenity here. They’re not running against each other, but existing in a

strange harmony.

The Living Dead Girl

There are two tragedies in life: the first is not getting what you want. The second is getting

it. Jean Rollin knocks on the door of cinematic perfection with a story of love lost that

becomes something monstrous when it’s found once again.

The Public Enemy

Queerness finds a lonely, violent avatar in James Cagney’s Tom Powers, a man who is

constantly raging against the world around him, even as he tries to ascend the ladder of it

with blood on his hands. For all of the heavy-handed moralising that bookends the film,

and the societal problem of a “public enemy,” Wellamn’s film offers something much more

than a morality play: a character study of a man whose ghost still walks among us.


All of the queer films on this list are weird and violent. The most obviously unbalanced

woman in the history of gothic cinema invites a “friend” to her secluded manor. But the

Rollin-esque set-up is anything but: Symptoms is slow to reveal its hand, and creates

something legitimately unsettling in the emptiness of this grand house, and the women that

wander around it.

To Be Or Not To Be

It’s tempting to talk about the politics of the film: the limits of art-as-activism. But in the end,

when I think about To Be Or Not To Be, I think about the fact that it has one of the best

punchlines in a film that I’ve ever heard.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

“I know what gold does to men’s souls.” A tale of distrust and disintegration; of desperate,

cowardly men reaching out for the the thing they want the most, at any cost. Bogart is

fascinating for his cowardice more than anything else; a fool looking for fool’s gold which,

in the end, is all gold.

S Paul 

(Editor’s Note: Paul declined to continue, citing Gorfinkel’s Against Lists and a desire to abolish the Gregorian calendar)

Paddy Mulholland


  • Benediction (Terence Davies)
  • Blonde (Andrew Dominik)
  • Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg)
  • EO (Jerzy Skolimowski)
  • Mad God (Phil Tippett)
  • Nelly & Nadine (Magnus Gertten)
  • Pacifiction (Albert Serra)
  • Rimini (Ulrich Seidl)
  • Robe of Gems (Natalia Lopez)
  • What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? (Alexandre Koberidze)


  • Ah Pook Is Here. (Philip Hunt)
  • Flamenco (Carlos Saura)
  • Hen, His Wife (Igor Kovalyov)
  • The House of Small Cubes (Katou Kunio)
  • The Muppet Movie (James Frawley)
  • Peking Opera Blues (Tsui Hark)
  • Phantoms of Nabua (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  • Rejuvenique Video Manual 
  • Still in Cosmos (Makino Takashi)
  • Tungrus (Rishi Chandna)

Joseph Owen

  1. Human Flowers of Flesh (dir. Wittmann)
  2. Fairytale (dir. Sokurov)
  3. Astrakan (dir. Depesseville)
  4. Vortex (dir. Noé)
  5. Benediction (dir. Davies)
  6. Top Gun: Maverick (dir. Kosinski)
  7. The Girl and the Spider (Zürchers)
  8. Licorice Pizza (Anderson)
  9. Introduction (Hong)
  10. Benedetta (Verhoeven)

Maximilien Luc Proctor 

8 new features:

  • Darkness, Darkness, Burning Bright — Prelude & Oraison (Rouard)
  • The Dream and the Radio (Després-Larose & Rousiouk)
  • Vortex (Noé)
  • Hole in the Head (Kavanagh)
  • Crimes of the Future (Cronenberg)
  • The United States of America (Benning)
  • Tár (Field)
  • Nobody’s Hero (Guiraudie)

Every year I am faced with the same dilemma: first, determining if I exposed my eyeballs to enough new feature-length films that I enjoyed to make a list. Coming up with a short list of great experimental shorts is never a problem. Darkness, Darkness… was a very special treat which I am well aware most people have not yet had a chance to see. I include it in the hopes that it will generate some interest. Ideally even push some to book the film for screenings. With only one existing print that must be projected by the filmmaker herself, it’s not a simple prospect. But in time I don’t doubt it will get out there a bit more. 

The Dream and the Radio is the kind of ‘first film’ that makes all the festival digging feel worthwhile —finally, further proof of young people out there somewhere in the world who really want to try to do things differently, unafraid of failure, willing to challenge viewers, to challenge themselves, to challenge the general state of festival filmmaking and still make it through the cracks. It is rare, and Renaud Després-Larose & Ana Tapia Rousiouk are absolutely a duo to keep an eye on.

With Vortex, Noé surprised me again. After Climax (2018) (which I appreciated but did not enjoy), I was taken aback by the compassion for his characters here. It’s not exactly pioneering on a formal level, but it is fascinating. Noé’s formal schtick often threatens to fall into ‘why bother who cares’ territory, but here it works far better than expected (as was the case in Enter the Void (2009)). If nothing else one must admire his unceasing dedication to the bit. Of course he couldn’t help himself with that last shot, and the dialogue and plot more than once slips into overly silly territory, yet overall its a level-headed entry that truly tickled the fear-of-death nerve like no other.

Hole in the Head is another promising new work by a lesser-known filmmaker. As per his website, Dean Kavanagh has made 70 short films and 6 features. The theatrical unrolling of his new picture in his native Ireland is a touching success story. The film itself—complete with a handy blog about its making—concerns the mining of a mysterious personal history via various moving image formats. There are tedious moments, but the whole of the film is a satisfying and exploratory bizarro aesthetic adventure which thrills beyond the surface obsessions of, say, a Peter Strickland picture.

Crimes of the Future sees Cronenberg senior up to his usual. What is new here is the way it blends the best of his late style narratives (A History of Violence, Eastern Promises) into his fascination with gore. A logical endpoint. The body reigns supreme in his filmography and here it is once again the locus of control and reckless abandon. Not a return to but a furthering of form.

Similarly, The United States of America sees Benning continuing to hold static shots for extended periods with little to no action. It is a strategy which has allowed him to continue releasing work at a steady clip. Apparently he has already made two new features since this one premiered in February. Here we stare at nature. We stare at the ruins of the American dream. We hear ghosts of the past through recorded speeches and echoes of distant music. We meditate on the injustices the nation was built upon (as is always his wont). 

Tár was a pleasant surprise. Nobody’s Hero was a clever absurdist satire.  I don’t have much else to say about either except to recommend them.

5 new shorts:

  • Ashes by Name is Man (Rosinska)
  • Tigre del Carbon (aZuLosa)
  • Lungta (Cuesta)
  • Notes on Connection III (Franco)
  • All The Best (Proctor)

Tigre del Carbon and Notes on Connection III were two of the many excellent films in the ‘Persistent Visions’ program of MoMI’s First Look festival in March. 

Lungta is the newest work by Alexandra Cuesta, whose Notes, Imprints (On Love): Part I (2020) left an impression for its subtle and sensitive imagery. Lungta however, is composed of ghostly images, nothing concrete, everything based around the fact of its inability to be perceived concretely. 

Ashes by Name is Man is the latest work by Ewelina Rosinska, which will play IFFR in January, and which displays a technical proficiency which has furthered since her last (already quite good) film, Erde im Mund (2020). While both films were shot illustriously on 16mm and edited digitally, her next is slated to be an all-analog endeavor. If Ashes… is anything to go by, her next will be a masterwork of montage. 

All the Best is the first film (a single roll) shot on my Bolex, which was surprise-gifted to me by six of my closest friends in October, and it is incredible the degree to which having my own personal camera has altered my working methodology. 

17 discoveries:

  • Eniaios (I-III and XII-XIV) (1947-1991, Markopoulos)
  • Bouquets 11-20 (2009, Lowder)
  • 17 Reasons Why (1987, Dorsky)
  • Stare (1991, Kels)
  • Women I Love (1979, Hammer)
  • Meditations on Revolution Part V: Foreign City (2003, Fenz)
  • Working Class (1976, Wong)
  • Fog Line (1970, Gottheim)
  • Untitled 77-A (1977, Han)
  • La Region Centrale (1971, Snow)
  • Hand Held Day (1975, Beydler)
  • Heat Shimmer (1978, the Cantrills)
  • Fishs Eddy (1978, Shatavsky)
  • What the Water Said (Nos. 1-6) (1998 & 2007, Gatten)
  • The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo (1955, Tait)
  • Belly (1998, Williams)
  • Sotiros (2000, Beavers)

Each of these viewings taught me to see again, which is the reason I continue to watch films. 

Fedor Tot


  • No Bears (Jafar Panahi)
  • Petrov’s Flu (Kiril Serebrenikov)
  • You Won’t Be Alone (Goran Stolevski)
  • Vortex (Gaspar Noe)
  • This Much I Know To Be True (Andrew Dominik)
  • Jackass Forever (Jeff Tremaine)
  • Saint Omer (Alice Diop)
  • All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras)
  • Murina (Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović)
  • Dark Glasses (Dario Argento)


  • The Long Goodbye (Robert Altman, USA, 1973)
  • All that Money Can Buy (William Dieterle, USA, 1941)
  • Hard to Be a God (Aleksei German, Russia, 2013)
  • The Swordsman of All Swordsmen (Joseph Kuo, Taiwan, 1969)
  • Execution in Autumn (Lee Hsing, Taiwan, 1972)
  • Ganja and Hess (Bill Gunn, USA 1973)
  • Coach to Vienna (Karel Kachyňa, Czechoslovakia, 1966)
  • The Enemy (Živojin Pavlović, Yugoslavia, 1965)
  • Boxer from Shantung( Chang Cheh/Pao Hsueh-Li, Hong Kong, 1972)
  • The Lady from Constantinople (Judit Elek, Hungary, 1969)

Best Discoveries of Il Cinema Ritrovato

  • Canoa: A Shameful Memory (Felipe Cazals, Mexico, 1976)
  • A Fire (Ebrahim Golestan, Iran, 1961)
  • Zaseda/The Ambush (Živojin Pavlović, Yugoslavia, 1969)
  • The Raid (Huge Fregonese, USA, 1954)
  • Cheshmeh (Arby Ovanessian, Iran, 1972)
  • The Ninth Circle (France Štiglic, Yugoslavia, 1960)
  • Black Tuesday (Huge Fregonese, USA, 1954)
  • The Long Farewell (Kira Muratova, USSR, 1971)
  • Tony Arzenta/No Way Out (Duccio Tessari, Italy, 1973)
  • Don’t Look Back, My Son (Branko Bauer, Yugoslavia, 1956)

Alistair Ryder


  1. Aftersun
  2. The Eternal Daughter
  3. All The Beauty And The Bloodshed
  4. RRR
  5. The Banshees of Inisherin
  6. Turning Red
  7. Bones and All
  8. Funny Pages
  9. Nope
  10. Mrs Harris Goes to Paris


  1. Julia (Erick Zonca, 2008)
  2. Malcolm X (Spike Lee, 1992)
  3. Terms of Endearment (James L. Brooks, 1983)
  4. Notes on a Scandal (Richard Eyre, 2006)
  5. Police Story (Jackie Chan, 1985)
  6. Quiz Show (Robert Redford, 1996)
  7. Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1958)
  8. The Housemaid (Kim Ki-young, 1960)
  9. Asako I & II (Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2018)
  10. Ali (Michael Mann, 2001)

Orla Smith 

  1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras)
  2. The Eternal Daughter (Joanna Hogg)
  3. Mr. Bachmann and His Class (Maria Speth)
  4. Nope (Jordan Peele)
  5. Saint Omer (Alice Diop)
  6. Ahed’s Knee (Nadav Lapid)
  7. Anais in Love (Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet)
  8. All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen)
  9. Ali & Ava (Clio Barnard)
  10. Eo (Jerzy Skolimowski)

Laura Venning 


  1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
  2. Aftersun
  3. The Fabelmans
  4. Blue Jean
  5. Top Gun Maverick
  6. The Eternal Daughter
  7. Armageddon Time 
  8. Flee
  9. Ali and Ava
  10. Enys Men


  1. The Owl Service (1969)
  2. Viy (1967)
  3. Working Girls (1986), Lizzie Borden
  4. We Don’t Need a Map (2017), Warwick Thornton
  5. Caprice (1986), Joanna Hogg
  6. Portrait of Kaye (2021), Ben Reed
  7. Eyes of Fire (1983), Avery Crounse
  8. The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), Víctor Erice
  9. My First Film (2018), Zia Anger
  10. 3 Women (1977), Robert Altman