It has been a big year for the film industry, in Sri Lanka and globally, with many excellent, award-worthy productions making it to the screen. In Sri Lanka, movies like Aruna Jayawardene’s Maariya were in the spotlight at various international film festivals and even bagged awards, while movies like Andrew Dominik’s Blonde, Advait Chandan’s Laal Singh Chaddha, and Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling caused quite a stir for one reason or another. Even the famous Oscar slap, delivered by Will Smith and received by Chris Rock, took place early this year.
Best of 2022
The year saw the revival of cinema, after being badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. People felt more comfortable going to movie theatres, both in Sri Lanka and abroad, and there were many great productions that were a must-watch at the cinema. These are some of the best movies of the year, as ranked by Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie presents two parallel love stories in which the partners are thwarted by hidden, inevitable obstacles, the force of superstition, and the mechanics of power.
“No Bears bears witness to Jafar Panahi’s incisive filmmaking while urging viewers to examine the complex layers of a deceptively simple story: a man oppressed and suppressed by his country,” is the critics consensus of the movie.
Director: Jafar Panahi
Stars: Jafar Panahi, Naser Hashemi, and Vahid Mobasheri
Happening is an adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s novel of the same name, and looks back on her experience with abortion when it was still illegal in France in the 1960s. Critics called it a tough but rewarding watch, adding: “Happening puts a personal face on an impossibly difficult choice and its heart-rending aftermath.”
Director: Audrey Diwan
Stars: Anamaria Vartolomei, Kacey Mottet Klein, and Luàna Bajrami
‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On’
In this movie by Dean Fleischer-Camp, we meet Marcel, an adorable, one-inch-tall shell who ekes out a colourful existence with his grandmother, Connie, and their pet lint, Alan. Once part of a sprawling community of shells, they now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy.
However, when a documentary filmmaker discovers them, the short film he posts online brings Marcel millions of passionate fans, as well as unprecedented dangers and a new hope of finding his long-lost family.
Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp
Stars: Jenny Slate, Dean Fleischer-Camp, and Isabella Rossellini
In Girl Picture, three young women try to defy the persistent winter darkness in Finland, and in the process, they move between dreams, reality, friendship, and relationships, and try to make sense of the whole mess.
Director: Alli Haapasalo
Stars: Aamu Milonoff, Eleonoora Kauhanen, and Linnea Leino
The movie takes us to 1955, where, after Emmett Till is murdered in a brutal lynching, his mother vows to expose the racism behind the attack while working to have those involved brought to justice.
Director: Chinonye Chukwu
Stars: Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, and Frankie Faison
From defamation trials to sexual assault charges, quite a few celebrities have had their controversial moments this year. Here is a look at some of the most talked about incidents in 2022.
Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial
The entire world got a good look into the personal lives of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, as the former sued his ex-wife Heard for defamation. The trial, which was livestreamed online, took place from mid-April to early June. The jury awarded Depp $ 10 million in compensatory damages and $ 5 million in punitive damages, but also found that Depp had defamed Heard through his attorney and awarded her $ 2 million.
Both Depp and Heard appealed against the respective verdicts, but this month, both parties reached a settlement.
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars
The 94th Academy Awards, which took place on 27 March, will always be remembered for “the slap”, where actor Will Smith walked onstage and slapped comedian Chris Rock across the face during Rock’s presentation for Best Documentary Feature. Smith’s actions were in response to the comedian’s joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, which was due to a health condition.
Smith resigned his Academy membership on 1 April, facing a potential suspension or expulsion, and was banned from attending Academy events for 10 years, effective 8 April.
Kevin Spacey is charged with sexual assault in the UK
In November, it was reported that Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had authorised seven additional charges against actor Kevin Spacey for a number of sexual assaults against one man between 2001 and 2004. Spacey was previously accused of five offences in Britain. The previous month, Spacey defeated a sexual abuse case against him in the US, where the accuser claimed that Spacey made an unwanted sexual advance on him when he was 14.
Harvey Weinstein is convicted of sexual assault and rape
Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of three of seven charges, including rape, in the second sexual assault trial against him. While Weinstein pleaded not guilty, one of the accusers said: “Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night in 2013. I will never get that back. The criminal trial was brutal. Weinstein’s lawyers put me through hell on the witness stand.”
Weinstein faces a possible sentence of 24 years in prison, and is currently serving a 23-year sentence for a 2020 New York rape conviction.