As we move toward Academy Award season we’re going to see a number of films from 2022 being remembered. Among those are International Features. This was a rich year for International Features, and while we don’t know which group will make the final field at the Oscars—yet—I wanted to share my five favorites.
Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Netflix)
About: This one comes from director Alejandro G. Inarritu. It is set in Mexico, focusing on a journalist who is on the verge of a major award and returns to his home in Mexico, where he reflects on his life and career. It features a great performance from Daniel Gimenez Cacho in the lead role and it’s an incredibly creative visual story. It’s my favorite of Inarritu’s films, and my favorite International Feature of the year.
About: Another International Feature streaming on Netflix. This is one of the hottest films of the year, a three-hour epic. S.S. Rajamouli does a beautiful job bringing this story to life. It has a little bit of everything, from fighting a tiger to a lavish song and dance number. It’s a wild ride and a heck of a lot of fun. It’s one of the best and most creative films I saw this year.
Decision to Leave (Mubi)
About: Another stirring International Feature, this one from director Park Chan-wook, focusing on a Korean detective suffering from insomnia that comes across a grieving wife who is more than she appears. It’s a fascinating and in-depth story that brings you into a mystery which plays out in unexpected ways. It’s one of the most talked about, gripping and engaging International Features in this year’s field.
Saint Omer (Limited)
About: While the first three films on this list have a great chance to be on the final list for the Academy Awards, these last two are personal picks. This French film follows a novelist who sits on the trial of a mother who is accused of killing her child. The journalist hopes to turn it into a novel, but aspects of the trial and the woman accused cause her take a hard look at her life. This was strangely engaging and ended up being a somewhat deeply emotional watch. Director Alice Diop drew inspiration from a real trial she attended, and you feel the personal connection to the material in the way it’s brought to life on screen.
About: This entry from Belgium focuses on two young boys (Eden Dambrine and Gustav De Waele) that have an incredibly close relationship. As they begin a new school year, that relationship causes them to become the focus of derision from other boys. As a result, their friendship fractures, taking a heavy toll on them both. This is a difficult and at times deeply emotional film. It isn’t an easy watch but it’s well crafted by director Lukas Dhont.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.