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10 Best Movies from the 2022 New York Film Festival

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As Hollywood awards season approaches, here’s our take on the 10 best movies from the 2022 New York Film Festival (NYFF), including The Inspection. Cineastes take note: we’ll probably be hearing a lot more about these in the coming weeks.

what to know about the New York Film Festival

New York Film Festival (or “NYFF”) might be our favorite film festival of the year. Of course, we are a little biased – NYFF takes place at our home theater of Lincoln Center – but we also love the celebratory feeling of the fest.

Unlike many of the other major festivals, NYFF does not have a competition element. This means that all the films presented are on the “same side” – the side of movies, and the people who love them. Everyone is a winner.

Though there are many films from this year’s Main Slate that we can’t wait to see – including plenty of overlap with the season’s other festivalshere are ten that have really caught our eye. Every single one of these sounds destined to change a little something about the way we see the world.

NYFF was founded in 1963 by Amos Vogel and Richard Roud, and it runs from September 30th to October 16th at Lincoln Center.

The 10 best movies from the 2022 New York Film Festival

1. White Noise

Opening the festival, Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of the famously “unadaptable” Don DeLillo novel White Noise.. Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig star as Jack and Babette, suburban parents whose lives are forever changed when a car accident causes a potentially fatal airborne toxic event. Described as equal parts comedy and horror, this satiric film – about how people respond to disaster and to death – may feel eerily topical.

Greta Gerwig attends screening of Netflix’s White Noise on Opening Night at New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall in September 2022. Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

2. Armageddon Time

From James Gray, Armageddon Time is a coming-of-age story set in Queens, New York in 1980. Banks Repeta stars as Paul, a sixth-grade boy who struggles in the way that many middle-schoolers do – with his parents (played by Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong), with his budding artistic dreams, and with his discovery of the injustices of the world.

Anne Hathaway attends presentation of movie Armageddon Time during 60th New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall on October 12, 2022. Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

His refuge comes in the form of his loving grandfather (played by Anthony Hopkins), and their relationship takes center stage. The “coming of age” film is a broad category that can encompass many kinds of films, with many different emotional beats, and we’re excited to see the Ad Astra and The Lost City of Z director make his version.

3. Alcarràs

Winner of the top prize – the Golden Bear – at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, this film from Carla Simón tells the story of a family of peach farmers in present-day Catalonia. When their orchard is threatened with the installation of solar panels – which would effectively destroy their livelihood – they must find their way through an ever-changing world. This story asks important questions about the intersection between agriculture and technology, and it sounds like a must-see for us all.

4. Aftersun

In the debut feature from Charlotte Wells, a woman named Sophie (played by Celia Rowlson-Hall) reflects on the vacation she took with her father (played by Paul Mescal) as a young girl (played by Francesca Corio). The film is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever looked back at their childhood after coming of age and understood – or not understood – their parents in a new way.

5. De humani corporis fabrica

In its U.S. premiere, a documentary about the wonders of the human body. As it’s never been seen before. Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Leviathan) go inside five Parisian hospitals, employing the power of the microscopic camera – for results that may very well be unprecedented. The audience is treated to an intimate ride through the landscape of the human body, where they’ll experience everything from surgery to birth – from the inside. Though it may not be for the faint of heart, this film sounds like one of a kind.

6. Saint Omer

From acclaimed documentarian Alice Diop, a narrative feature debut. Rama (Kayije Kagame) is a novelist, who goes to attend a trial in Saint Omer – where a woman has been accused of murdering her baby – as research for her modern-day retelling of the Medea myth. But as Rama learns more about Senegalese immigrant Laurence (Guslagie Malanda), whose life in France has been devastated by the racism she’s experienced, her feelings about her project – and her own pregnancy – begin to spiral. Saint Omer is being discussed as one of the best films of the season, and it sounds like a fascinating take on contemporary myth-retellings.

7. Return to Seoul

During a vacation in Seoul, Freddie (Park Ji-Min) – who has grown up in France – attempts to track down the birth parents she has never met. This film from Davy Chou is said to reach deeply into the interior of its protagonist, showing the way her adoption has impacted every aspect of her life. One of our favorite things about film festivals is the way they highlight narratives that serve as cinematic portraits of their main characters – the kind of films that can get lost at the box office, but that are often our favorites of the year.

8. TÁR

And another film that sounds like a cinematic portrait of its main characterTár. After nearly two decades, Todd Field (Little Children, In the Bedroom) returns with a film about an iconic fictional conductor named Lydia Tár. Blanchett stars in the titular role, bringing her superpower talent to a portrayal that already has many talking about her performance. This is definitely one of the most anticipated releases of the season.

9. No Bears

Iranian writer and director Jafar Panahi is one of the singular filmmakers of our time, and not only because of all he has endured off screen. His latest project is a metanarrative – which already has us excited – in which he plays himself, attempting to make a film about a couple who want to flee their country. The two stories unfold in parallel, creating a masterpiece that asks important questions about art and its consequences. We can’t wait.

As Hollywood awards season approaches, the 10 best movies to see from the 2022 New York Film Festival (NYFF), including The Inspection.
As Hollywood awards season approaches, the 10 best movies to see from the 2022 New York Film Festival (NYFF), including The Inspection.

10. The Inspection

And last but not least, we have the closing film of the festival – the highly-anticipated new film from Elegance Bratton. Jeremy Pope stars as Tony, a young gay man whose story is based on Bratton’s own. He joined the Marines, after many years of homelessness following his family’s rejection of him. Tony has battles to fight on all sides. He faces cruelty from his sergeant (played by Bokeem Woodbine), and the unprocessed emotions of his relationship with mother (played by Gabrielle Union). Almost certainly slated to be one of the knockout films of the fest.

Best movies from the 2022 New York Film Festival

As Hollywood awards season approaches, you may want to catch some of the most talked-about new films of the year. Here’s our take on the 10 best movies to see from the 2022 New York Film Festival (NYFF), including The Inspection. Which ones do you peg as award winners this year?

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