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CINEUROPA

Cineuropa's Best of 2022

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- The results are in for the poll of Cineuropa’s journalists. Which are the best European works of the year?

Cineuropa's Best of 2022

One year on, and we are still here. 2021 tried hard to allow us to recover from 2020 (check out our list of the Best Films of 2021 here), but it wasn't until 2022 that the industry returned to what we once called "normal", and film festivals went back to their usual dates, schedules and red-carpet razzle-dazzle. Amidst all of this, what has been the state of European film and series production, now well and truly intertwined? The eternal struggle between veterans and newcomers to grab the limelight has arguably shifted in favour of the latter, with the newer voices drowning out the older ones, even though some of the older ones are proving they can deliver films that are just as fresh and daring as the youngest.

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The results are in for the poll of Cineuropa’s journalists. Which European (co-)produced works world-premiered this year are the best, according to our team?

25 Safe Place [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juraj Lerotić
film profile
]
, Juraj Lerotić (Croatia/Slovenia)

"Everybody needs a safe place, both in the physical and the metaphorical sense. For instance, safety is the key component of the concepts of home and family, which are rooted so deep in our society and our psychology. But what if the safe place is denied for somebody? Safe Place is a tense psychological drama that treats its serious topic from a sincere point of view belonging to those indirectly affected by it." (Marko Stojiljković)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Juraj Lerotić)

24 The Eclipse [+see also:
film review
interview: Nataša Urban
film profile
]
, Nataša Urban (Norway)

"The Eclipse is a remarkable exploration of collective and personal memory and responsibility. Combining 16mm and manipulated Super 8 footage with an exquisite analogue, tape modulation-dominated soundtrack, the director has created a multi-layered work that resonates on several distinctive levels." (Vladan Petkovic)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Nataša Urban)

23 El agua [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elena López Riera
film profile
]
, Elena López Riera (Switzerland/Spain/France)

"Impending doom, esotericism, tradition and the heavy family legacy also float, and sometimes sink, in this tense calm before the outbreak of the furious, sweeping storm; in a film that proves once again that López Riera manoeuvres harmoniously and confidently in any film genre." (Alfonso Rivera)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Elena López Riera)

22 The Quiet Girl [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Colm Bairéad
film profile
]
, Colm Bairéad (Ireland)

"One of the most surprising titles at this year’s Berlinale, The Quiet Girl is crafted with two simple tools: three excellent lead actors who play their parts with great honesty and the use of “naturalistic time”. It’s rare to see this type of tempo staged successfully in a contemporary film." (Davide Abbatescianni)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Colm Bairéad)

21 I Have Electric Dreams [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Valentina Maurel
film profile
]
, Valentina Maurel (Belgium/France/Costa Rica)

"I Have Electric Dreams isn’t your usual coming-of-age tale where a young woman turns into a young woman over the course of a summer. Eva sees beyond that. How and why has violence become a language within her family unit, a conversation between her father and herself, and sometimes even with her mother? What can be done about this legacy, this violence handed down between generations?" (Aurore Engelen)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Valentina Maurel)

20 The Beasts [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Valentina Maurel
film profile
]
, Rodrigo Sorogoyen (Spain/France)

"Divided into two time frames, The Beasts is not only disturbing but also deeply moving. Beneath its violent film texture (it is impossible not to recall films like Straw Dogs and Deliverance, to name a few of the “you are not welcome here” subgenre) pulsates a thrilling love story: a shared idealism capable of overcoming any fear, tragedy and threat." (Alfonso Rivera)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Isabel Peña)

19 Mutzenbacher [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ruth Beckermann
film profile
]
, Ruth Beckermann (Austria)

"In Mutzenbacher, one of the more curious Encounters at the Berlinale, Beckermann digs out one of the more scandalous literary works from her native country (or indeed any country) from the last century and checks it off against contemporary moral(ism)s. Enlisting a group of men of various ages, she has them share their reflections on the matter at hand. No women are ever in view, but they are certainly talked about." (Jan Lumholdt)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Ruth Beckermann)

18 Holy Spider [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ali Abbasi
interview: Ali Abbasi
interview: Zar Amir Ebrahimi
film profile
]
, Ali Abbasi (Denmark/Germany/France/Sweden)

"It might be an odd way to describe this dark, unsettling story, actually inspired by a real-life case, but Abbasi never forgets that films – even ambitious and undoubtedly complex ones – should also be fun to watch. Also, there is something about this film that makes one feel utterly uncomfortable, but it’s not due to its violence. It’s mostly because the way people react here, the way they dehumanise women quickly and easily, feels recognisable and it feels true." (Marta Bałaga)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Ali Abbasi)

17 The Worst Ones [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Romane Gueret and Lise Akoka
film profile
]
, Lise Akoka & Romane Gueret (France)

"Akoka and Gueret's first feature provides material for a particularly topical sociological discussion. But above all, it has a real heart that beats wildly and a power that releases emotions that are both formidably lively and cinematographically very accomplished in their form, interweaving two worlds that wrongly misunderstand each other and that benefit from discovering each other." (Fabien Lemercier)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret)

16 Pamfir [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk
interview: Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk
film profile
]
, Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk (Ukraine/France/Poland/Chile/Luxembourg/Germany)

"Pamfir is an original Ukrainian movie, unlike anything we’ve seen before from the country, which not only speaks about the war (there is also a line about the conflict in the East), but also tells the story of a family tragedy, which will easily resonate with many viewers from different countries." (Nataliia Serebriakova)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk)

15 Rimini [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ulrich Seidl
film profile
]
, Ulrich Seidl (Austria/Germany/France)

"Although this is as merciless and as pointed – for Seidl's admirers – as ever, one can still identify a breakthrough, through characterising it as a “late work”. Rimini earns its laurel as a sensitive study of mortality, as well as a lacerating look at much else that Seidl sees in us, as is his wont." (David Katz)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Ulrich Seidl)

14 Will-o'-the-Wisp [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ulrich Seidl
film profile
]
, João Pedro Rodrigues (Portugal/France)

"Folklore, environmentalism, queer desire and Hollywood musical-style ensemble choreography come together in this short but ravishing feature by Rodrigues. Films with these outré descriptions often dot festival catalogues and flatter to deceive, but this one absolutely lives up to the excitable copywriting on viewing, whilst beneath its pleasurable surface lie many thought-provoking ideas." (David Katz)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with João Pedro Rodrigues)

13 One Fine Morning [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Mia Hansen-Løve (France)

"Playing ever so gently with the colours and patterns of the fabric of all our lives, Hansen-Løve patiently weaves together a luminous film about our awareness of existing (just being here) in a place where love, in all its paradoxes, acts as a connecting thread. At times incredibly moving, the film nonetheless retains focus on a level of modesty and restraint which doesn’t hide anything, but which says everything there is to say." (Fabien Lemercier)

(Read full review)

12 Mantícora [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlos Vermut
film profile
]
, Carlos Vermut (Spain)

"If Vermut did not exist, he would have to be invented. Thanks to his unaccommodating audiovisual work, Spanish cinema reaches levels of disturbance that few dare to even contemplate. All we can say is that some may find the story amoral or scandalous, but which - under the surface - addresses the need for affection that we all have, even the most abominable and abject monster imaginable." (Alfonso Rivera)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Carlos Vermut)

11 Piggy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlota Pereda
film profile
]
, Carlota Pereda (Spain)

"There is no avoiding a mention of Carrie in any Piggy-related conversations – once again, a girl’s body is treated as her own enemy and the stills of a blood-soaked girl serve as a reminder of that unfortunate bucket. But this one stands (and breaks one’s heart) on its own, an exceptionally skilful work that really proves that there is some genre-film revolution going on." (Marta Bałaga)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Carlota Pereda)

10 Alcarràs [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carla Simón
interview: Carla Simón
interview: Giovanni Pompili
film profile
]
, Carla Simón (Spain/Italy)

"Nothing really happens in Alcarràs, and yet everything does, as one family’s entire world is about to change forever. Simón practises the “inside” kind of filmmaking, coming as close as she can, peeking through leaves and seemingly trying her best to refrain from hugging the protagonists. It’s nothing short of miraculous that they are all given their own moments to exist here. Frankly, she might be one of the most tender directors around." (Marta Bałaga)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Carla Simón)

9 R.M.N. [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Cristian Mungiu
film profile
]
, Cristian Mungiu (Romania/France/Belgium/Sweden)

"The whole, subtle art of Mungiu is to introduce and truly bring into existence a huge number of supporting characters, thus painting a very comprehensive portrait of the microcosm that could almost be documentary-like, if the filmmaker didn’t also have the specific talent of being able to sensitively probe their private lives. It all makes for a perfect, fascinating and astute fresco, which takes shape around the key issue of the collective in the face of its urges for life and death." (Fabien Lemercier)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Cristian Mungiu)

8 Close [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Eden Dambrine
interview: Lukas Dhont
interview: Lukas Dhont
film profile
]
, Lukas Dhont (Belgium/France/Netherlands)

"Covering four seasons through the mirror of family work in fields of flowers and among the natural elements, Close proves a wonderful cinematographic balancing act, both incisive and thought-provoking, which combines realism, lyricism and melodrama with touching smoothness and without a hint of excess." (Fabien Lemercier)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Lukas Dhont)

7 Triangle of Sadness [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Eden Dambrine
interview: Lukas Dhont
interview: Lukas Dhont
film profile
]
, Ruben Östlund (Sweden/Germany/France/Turkey/Greece/Denmark/UK/USA)

"Östlund’s “Rubensonade” (if we may) provides maximal mischief and minimal nobility in any sense – the filthy-rich clientele on the flashy yacht bound for wreckage are at least as filthy as they are rich. As a storm brews and the very merchandise sold by our Russian peddler hits the proverbial fan (plenty of bodily waste flies around here, unproverbially so), we’re in for some desert-island hardships, better left untold here." (Jan Lumholdt)

(Read full review)
(Watch interview with Ruben Östlund)

6 The Banshees of Inisherin [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Martin McDonagh (Ireland/UK/USA)

"It feels almost strange to laugh during McDonagh’s films sometimes. They are hilarious, endlessly quotable and yet so very, very sad. It’s hard to say how all of it goes together, but it does. It’s almost as if after realising the world is doomed and all hope is gone, one were to just sit there, smiling. The Banshees of Inisherin is a smaller film, in scope and in spirit, as a tiny island community suddenly witnesses something exciting: the end of a life-long friendship." (Marta Bałaga)

(Read full review)

5 EO [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Eden Dambrine
interview: Lukas Dhont
interview: Lukas Dhont
film profile
]
, Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland/Italy)

"Among the films devoted entirely to animal protagonists, EO still sticks out a little. The veteran Polish director’s take on the ever-changing fortunes (and whereabouts) of one donkey is weird and occasionally hilarious. There is something about it that feels very young, film school-y even, but it’s quite inspiring that instead of delivering safer fare, Skolimowski still feels like playing." (Marta Bałaga)

(Read full review)

4 Godland [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elliott Crosset Hove
interview: Hlynur Pálmason
film profile
]
, Hlynur Pálmason (Denmark/Iceland/France/Sweden)

"Godland is a work of very high artistic level, looking in-depth at the crushing link between the millennial powers of nature and the gaping moral faults that are revealed when humans are pushed to their limits. This very spectacular and no less intense film confirms the gradual rise in quality of world cinema by a very talented director." (Fabien Lemercier)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Hlynur Pálmason)

3 Aftersun [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Charlotte Wells (UK/USA)

"Perfect performers, refined and inventive direction, a sense of rhythm, lighting and framing, an emotional sensitivity, a small crossover and a deft reversal of the film's major narrative subject, which shifts from the father to his daughter, a harmonious weaving of symbols and motifs that tell different stories: beneath its "banal" appearance, Aftersun is a truly impressive first feature." (Fabien Lemercier)

(Read full review)

2 Pacifiction [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Albert Serra
film profile
]
, Albert Serra (France/Spain/Germany/Portugal)

"With Pacifiction, Serra deceptively seems to be shrugging off this Romanticism-and-oil-painting obsession, finally positioning our frightening modern world in his sights. Although containing some elements of a classic paranoid thriller, the film is really more of a detailed character study, uninterested in plot progression and more so in creating a fully rounded portrayal of a human being." (David Katz)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Albert Serra)

1 Saint Omer [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alice Diop
film profile
]
, Alice Diop (France)

"Lifting the veil on "the story of a ghost woman whom nobody knows" and that of a "gradual disappearance to which a mother also subjects her child", Saint Omer works with delicacy on distance and on the prejudices and preconceptions surrounding a crime which goes beyond all comprehension, all the while releasing diffuse clues on the exact nature of its message (racism is very subtly evoked). Its opacity is the strength of this imperious yet cryptic film, which perfectly reflects its troubling protagonist." (Fabien Lemercier)

(Read full review)
(Read interview with Alice Diop)

Want to see our journalists' individual tops? Click here!

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