Because our movie-watching habits have changed drastically over the past few years, the movie-calendar year as we’ve come to know it may be shifting too. The Oscar campaigns for movies from the prior year dominate the first three months. As a prelude to the next round, the final four months serve as an extension of the Oscars. They are dominated by early fall film festivals. The lines between the releases and after-release dates are becoming blurrier as more people stream films. But even so, it’s always smart to pay attention to the films released in the first half of the year. That’s when the small surprises hit, movies that you check out on a whim and end up loving. Here are five movies from the early months of 2022 that you don’t want to miss.
Yang after Yang
A young couple, played by Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith, seek to protect their young daughter (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) from the reality that her “brother,” an A.I. The humanoid is in a state where it cannot be fixed. Kogonada has released the second fiction piece (Columbus) is gorgeous and wistful, a meditative reflection on memory that’s somehow both soothing and energizing.
Continue reading: Kogonada’s After Yang Is the Film to Watch When You’re Feeling Unsettled
An 8-year-old girl, Nelly (Joséphine Sanz), going through some emotional upheaval, meets a girl her own age while playing in the woods near her recently deceased grandmother’s house. Marion (Gabrielle Sanz, Joséphine’s real-life twin) happens to look just like Nelly, and the two become fast if cautious friends—because Nelly understands before Marion does that these two girls come from different planes of time. French filmmaker Céline Sciamma (Portrait of Lady on FireThis fairytale is a beautifully lucid and factual tale that honors children’s inner lives, and celebrates their capacity to grasp complex ideas that seem beyond them.
Paris, 13th district
French filmmaker Jacques Audiard (Rust and Bone, Sisters Brothers) gives us a film about young people in love—or perhaps only in lust—in current-day Paris: Émilie (Lucie Zhang), a stubborn, prickly young woman working at a dead-end telemarking job, auditions Camille (Makita Samba), a charming young teacher, as a potential roommate and ends up falling for him. Nora (Noémie Merlant), a 30-something real-estate agent who has just decided to return to school, is humiliated when her classmates mistake her for a popular online porn star, Amber Sweet (Jehnny Beth). In this loose adaptation from several stories written by American cartoonist Adrian Tomine, the lives of four different characters intersect and collide. There are some embarrassing misfires. Shot in silky black and white, it’s one of the treasures of this movie year.
Audrey Diwan’s tense, quietly radical film is the story of a young woman in early 1960s France, played by Anamaria Vartolomei, who discovers she’s pregnant and cannot, according to French law at the time, legally obtain an abortion. There are parts of the film—which is based on a 2000 memoir by French writer Annie Ernaux and won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival last year—that are sometimes difficult to watch. But the most harrowing part about it is its vision of a culture, and a country, preoccupied with controlling women’s lives—a past that appears to be looming as our own future in the United States.
Continue reading: It HappensThis is a timely and grim warning from France in 1960s
This adaptation of Ben Mcintyre’s hugely popular book of the same name traces a real-life deception pulled off by a group of British operatives in 1943, using a corpse armed with a fake identity and an elaborate backstory to keep the Nazis in the dark about the impending Allied invasion of Sicily. Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen and Penelope Wilton play the intelligence officers responsible for this amazing feat. Kelly Macdonald (and Penelope Wilton) are the women involved in crafting the essential components of the subterfugee. The story of this subterfugee has already been recorded. The Man Who Never WasBased on Ewen Montagu’s memoir, this officer was played by Firth in 1956. Director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) guides this new version of the story with a steady hand: his movie is lively and smart, made with a quiet attention to detail and craftsmanship that’s a rarity these days.
Continue reading: Two former Mr. Darcys delight in Netflix Espionage Caper Operation Mincemeat
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