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The Best Cinematography of 2022

From the cockpit to the stage, in subterranean tunnels and miraculously lit stop-motion, there were no more arresting moving images than these.

Stills from "Blonde," "Babylon," "Bardo," and "Nope"

Clockwise from left: “Blonde,” “Babylon,” “Bardo,” “Nope”

Netflix; Paramount Pictures; Netflix; Universal Pictures

In surveying the year’s best cinematography, the IndieWire staff found a lot to like, across genres, formats, and planes of existence. 2022 was a year when discussion of visual language could’ve been dominated by flash and spectacle, and “modest” certainly isn’t the word that comes to mind when considering the looks and innovative techniques of our top picks.

But as you read on, you’re just as likely to encounter intimate nature photography and expertly controlled neo-noir atmosphere as you are cameras that take flight with legendary performers and/or into the gullet of a threat from beyond the stars. Whether it’s darkened subterranean tunnels or moving light miraculously captured in stop-motion; be it the work of celebrated virtuosos Janusz Kamiński and Claudio Miranda or ascendant DPs like Ari Wegner and Chayse Irvin — there were no more arresting moving images than these.

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