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The Best Movies of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, According to 75 Critics

The critics quibbled a bit with the awards the Cannes jury handed out this time around.

"Close"

“Close”

A24

A time of division indeed.

The last two editions of Cannes, the critics IndieWire polled were in lockstep with the jury’s picks, at least for Best Film. In 2019, they chose “Parasite” and “Titane,” both winners of the Palme d’Or. In 2022, the critics are shaking things up.

This year’s Palme d’Or winner, “Triangle of Sadness,” tied with “EO” for fourth place in our Best Film rankings. Consensus was not the order of the day this time around. And more critics voted in our survey than ever before: 75 in total, representing five continents and a couple of dozen countries.

The critics chose Lukas Dhont’s “Close” as the best film of the festival. The tender drama about two 13-year-old best friends sneered at by their classmates for being too “close” was described by some as “heartbreaking.” The emotional film did tie for the Grand Prix, but many thought it would win the Palme itself. Not that there’s universal praise for the Belgian film. IndieWire’s David Ehrlich gave the film a “B-” grade and our staff critics elected not to include it among their own picks for the 13 best films of the festival.

But those who admire “Close” don’t just seem to like it, they love it. And coming after his debut feature, the controversial “Girl,” which cast a cisgender boy in a trans role and featured a violent ending Ehrlich wrote “verged on the emotionally pornographic,” this new film is a breakthrough.

The film “Close” tied with for the Grand Prix, Claire Denis’ “Stars at Noon” did not make our survey’s final ranking, as it received only one Best Film vote from the 75 critics who participated.

Decision to Leave,” Park Chan-wook’s noir thriller that was also a strong Palme contender, came in second for Best Film from our voters. And it also represented the closest alignment of the poll with the Vincent Lindon-led jury’s awards: it won Best Director for Park at the festival and in this survey. “Close” also tied for second in our Best Directed Film category with Ruben Östlund’s “Triangle of Sadness,” which performed better in our Best Directed Film and Screenplay categories than in Best Film.

Albert Serra’s “Pacifiction,” a narratively elliptical puncturing of French colonialism in Tahiti that Eric Kohn likened to Apichatpong Weerasethakul and David Lynch, came in third on the Best Film list. It was shut out of the jury’s awards altogether.

Another film that was shut out by the jury topped our Best Screenplay rankings: “Armageddon Time,” the autobiographical reflection of growing up in New York in the ’80s by James Gray. The jury gave that prize to “Boy from Heaven,” which only two of our voters picked. “Triangle of Sadness” came in second on our Best Screenplay list, while “Showing Up,” co-written by Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond, came in third.

“Showing Up,” about a sculptor (Michelle Williams) preparing to open a new show, also tied for third in our Best Directed Film category, for Reichardt. She tied with David Cronenberg for “Crimes of the Future.” Both of those films were shut out from the Cannes jury awards.

See the full results below. For more of IndieWire’s Cannes coverage, go here.

Best Film

1. “Close,” Lukas Dhont
2. “Decision to Leave,” Park Chan-wook
3. “Pacifiction,” Albert Serra

Best Screenplay

1. “Armageddon Time”
2. “Triangle of Sadness”
3. “Showing Up”

Best Directed Film

1. “Decision to Leave,” Park Chan-wook
(tie) 2. “Close,” Lukas Dhont
(tie) 2. “Triangle of Sadness,” Ruben Östlund
(tie) 3. “Crimes of the Future,” David Cronenberg
(tie) 3. “Showing Up,” Kelly Reichardt

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