Metrograph has invited a suite of writers, artists, and filmmaker friends to contribute to our inaugural end-of-year review. Rather than 2022 releases, we asked people to share with us their best film experience from the past year, whether the movie be new or old, a first-time watch or a beloved favorite.
We hope you enjoy this eclectic list of recommended titles to revisit or perhaps add to watch lists in 2023. As a number of these screened at Metrograph over the course of the year, links to related coverage in the Journal can be found below. Best of all, some titles are still available to view on Metrograph At Home.
Thanks to everyone who contributed, and happy New Year from Metrograph!
Petite Maman (2021) – Céline Sciamma
Top Gun: Maverick (2022) – Joseph Kosinski
The peak cinema experience of my year was on a plane, seeing a passenger watch a golden hour beach scene where men bumped chiseled chests and wiggled, the same shots hypnotically repeated over and over—gayer than Warhol or Will-'o-the-wisp—before I realized he was rewinding the same scene from Top Gun: Maverick three times in a row.
Ode to Mount Hayachine (1982) – Haneda Sumiko
I saw this on a beautiful 16mm print at the incomparably great Courtisane Festival in Ghent. A major work about tradition and modernity, persistence and loss, from a filmmaker who received significant and belated European exposure this year thanks to the tireless efforts of programmer Ricardo Matos Cabo.
What’s Up Connection (1990) – Masashi Yamamoto
Masashi Yamamoto’s extravagant tale of cultural exchange between China and Japan at the turn of the ‘90s is deliriously nutty and berserk in the best way.
Presented at Metrograph in December as part of our series of Masashi Yamamoto restorations.
After Hours (1985) – Martin Scorsese
A film about a night of misadventures set in the empty streets of ’80s Soho. A fun, twisting, anxiety-inducing plot, this movie about trying to get home after a long night is a hidden gem filled with plenty of New York nostalgia.
Michael M. Bilandic
Kappa (1986) — Bruce and Norman Yonemoto in collaboration with Mike Kelley
As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000) – Jonas Mekas
A cocktail of gratitude and appreciation narrated with awe and wonder for the everyday. Bliss.
8 Mile (2002) – Curtis hanson
Presented at Metrograph in April as part of the series Pop Plays Itself.
The Headless Woman (2008) – Lucrecia Martel
Picked this as a (distressingly belated) first-time watch one night over a horror film—of course, it ended up being far scarier than any slasher schlock I was planning to watch.
Presented at Metrograph in August as part of programmer Lydia Ogwang's A to Z selections.
Seed (1931) – John M. Stahl
Presented at Metrograph in February as part of our John M. Stahl retrospective.
Vengeance Is Mine, aka Haunted (1984) – Michael Roemer
Gabriel Jandali Appel
Portrait of Jason (1967) – Shirley Clarke
I’m routinely drawn to the fault lines between performance and reality, so Portrait of Jason was the revelation for me this year; Liver King’s videos confessing to steroid use and “lying to his boys” were a close second.
The films of Andy Warhol plus the films of Oscar Micheaux
(Warhol’s precursor, as per J. Hoberman).
Inge de Leeuw
Decision to Leave (2022) – Park Chan-wook
Presented at Metrograph in December as part of the series Starring Tang Wei.
The House of Mirth (2000) – Terence Davies
Revisiting this shattering tale of Agent Scully transposed into the Whartonverse was the highlight of a year I spent luxuriating in Terence Davies.
Love and Death on Long Island (1997) – Richard Kwietniowski
Unrest (2022) – Cyril Schäublin
The Novelist’s Film (2022) – Hong Sangsoo
I copy here some words from painter Giorgio Morandi that remind me of Hong Sangsoo’s films: “Everything is a mystery, ourselves, and all the things both simple and humble.” Happy New Year! Here’s to the future Hong films!
The Hole (1998) – Tsai Ming-liang
Since seeing this for the first time back in February, I’ve thought about the musical sequences in Tsai’s film daily.
Presented at Metrograph in March as part of the series Chasing The Film Spirit: Five From Tsai Ming-liang.
The Mother and the Whore (1973) – Jean Eustache
Cario Conspiracy (aka Boy from Heaven) - Tarik Saleh
A Coupla White Faggots Sitting Around Talking (1981) – Michel Auder
Presented at Metrograph in May as part of the series Gary Indiana Selects.
Drive My Car (2021) – Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
R. Emmet Sweeney
The Magnificent Scoundrels (1991) – Lee Lik-chi
Sean Price Williams
Route One/USA (1989) – Robert Kramer
Slightly compelled to plug the RE:VOIR Blu-ray that just came out of Route One/USA. It’s a stunning restoration and package, very moving and beautiful—a completely new experience, and it’s high time Kramer gets some American recognition for his later films.
Interview by Margaret Barton-Fumo
Essay by Nick Pinkerton
Interview by Rebecca Harkins-Cross
Essay by Nicholas Forster
John M. Stahl
Essay by Nicolas Rapold
Body and Soul
Recommended by Daniel Schmidt
Profile by Phuong Le
Profile by Isabella Trimboli