It’s time to look back at the best international offerings from the year in cinema.
Now we are at the end of 2022, it's time to take a look back at the best films that have been released over the year. In particular, 2022 has delivered some stunning foreign language offerings from across the globe that have hugely impacted markets outside their native lands. Looking beyond the standard offerings from Hollywood can reveal some incredible treasures, including contenders for the film of the year.
With narratives from donkey-centric dramas to sexy, mystery thrillers, there has been something for even the pickiest film fan. That being said, it's time to take a look at the best foreign language films of 2022 according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Dutch language drama Close tells the story of two 13-year-old best friends Leo (Eden Dambrine) and Remi (Gustav De Waele). The pairs' intense and inseparable bond begins to attract attention from those around them once they return to school after summer vacation. With the weight of others' words and shame bearing down on him, Leo attempts to distance himself from Remi.
Close is director Lukas Dhont's second feature following up debut his 2018 debut Girl. Much like Girl, Close has been showered with acclaim from critics and audiences. The film is based on Dhont's own experiences as a queer teen and is a beautiful and emotionally harrowing portrayal of intimacy, with critics praising the young leads' performances. Close has had huge success on the festival circuit, sweeping many awards including the Grand Prix at Cannes.
S.S Rajamouli's RRR seemingly exploded out of nowhere in 2022. Starring N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan, RRR is a fictional account of two real freedom fighters in India. In reality, the two never met, but RRR posits what would have happened if they did. The result is 3 hours of tiger punching, Colonialist thumping, and hard dancing action. Wrapped within the spectacle is a story of two men fighting for not only their country but for their friendship.
Despite its runtime, there is never a moment where the story lags or the spectacle abates. The two leads give excellent and compelling performances with critics calling the film an inventive combination of spectacle and realism. While the movie can be found on Netflix in Hindi, most recommend watching it in the original Telugu as intended. RRR also created a phenomenon with its incredible song and dance number Naatu Naatu, which became the unofficial song of the summer.
South Korean mystery-thriller-romance Decision to Leave is directed, co-written, and produced by legendary director Park Chan-wook, originator of Old Boy and Thirst. Park Hae-il stars as insomniac detective Jang Hae-jun who finds himself working on the case of deceased climber Ki Do Soo, whose young wife Seo-Rae (Tang Wei) is suspected of killing. Soon enough, Hae-jun is staking out Seo-Rae's apartment and following her in order to gather evidence, but instead finds himself mixed up in a mystery and a passionate affair.
The film has been described as heartbreakingly tender and uncomfortable and also one of the sexiest films of the year. It also completely swept the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards and the Korean Film Producers Association Award, where it won every award it was nominated for. Decision to Leave also made it into the top 10 best films of 2022 in the New York Times, coming in at number 8.
Surprise Polish phenomenon EO tells the story of a donkey called EO and his journey from his beginnings in a Polish circus. The story is inspired by Robert Bresson's 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar and follows EO on a road trip of sorts as he encounters all manner of people, some good, some bad. While other films of this ilk tend to focus on the people and how their interactions with the animal at the center of the story affect them, EO never strays from its doe-eyed donkey lead.
84-year-old director Jerzy Skolimowski has crafted a sensitive and stunning look at the world through an animal's eyes and is filled with compassion for the animals of the world that are cruelly disregarded by people. Critics have called the film a meditation on sentience and sentiment, with a visual style that lends itself to looking through EO's eyes and feeling what he feels.
Currently sitting at a 100% critic score and 90% audience score, the Hindi documentary film All That Breathes is a tale of overcrowding, pollution, and hope. Brothers Nadeem and Saud have fallen in love with the Black Kite birds and created a makeshift bird hospital in their home to help those that fall from the sky. The birds are dropping from the sky due to the increasing toxicity, pollution and ecological shifts in New Delhi as smog chokes the sky and violence permeates the streets.
Described as a mesmerizing display of interspecies co-existence and a tribute to tenacity, All that Breathes is a poignant commentary on the state of the planet by exploring a small microcosm of life affected by the increasing toxicity of the world. The film has also been praised for its stunning cinematography and beautiful score.
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Emma Oakman is a British writer based in Canada who studied film at university. Emma has a proclivity for goop, gore, and all things that go bump in the night.