Prestigious cinema magazine Kinema Junpo has released its always anticipated “Best 10” list for films released in 2022, the 96th edition. Small, Slow But Steady takes the top spot plus Actress and Supporting Actor while there’s also a strong showing for pandemic-era social drama No Place to Go which picks up Best Director and Screenplay.
1. Small, Slow But Steady (ケイコ 目を澄ませて, Sho Miyake)
Yukino Kishii stars as a young deaf woman and aspiring boxer who is slowly losing the will to fight amid the constant strain of life in a largely unaccommodating society. Shot in grainy 16mm, the latest from Sho Miyake (And Your Bird Can Sing) is equal parts boxing movie and character study in which its scrappy heroine gradually regains her momentum.
2. A Man (ある男, Kei Ishikawa)
The latest film from Kei Ishikawa (Gukoroku: Traces of Sin, Arc), A Man stars Satoshi Tsumabuki as a lawyer who is pulled into a web of intrigue when a former client asks him to investigate her late husband who had been living under an assumed identity.
3. No Place to Go (夜明けまでバス停で, Banmei Takahashi)
Social drama from Banmei Takahashi (Rain of Light) exploring the effects of the pandemic on the homeless community through the story of a 45-year-old woman who loses her home and job when the yakitori restaurant she was working in is forced to close.
4. Amiko (こちらあみ子, Yusuke Morii)
Quirky drama loosely inspired by Natsuko Imamura’s novel Atarashii Musume following an eccentric young girl in the wake of a traumatic event in her family.
5. A Winter Rose (冬薔薇, Junji Sakamoto)
Social drama from Junji Sakamoto focussing on an aimless young man, Jun (Kentaro Ito), whose parents (Kaoru Kobayashi & Kimiko Yo) run a shipping business. Jun does not work or pursue education and spends his time hanging out with other young people of a similar outlook until one of his friends is attacked.
6. The Zen Diary (土を喰らう十二ヵ月, Yuji Nakae)
Contemplative foodie drama starring Kenji Sawada as a man living a self-sufficient life in the mountains while struggling to move on from the loss of his wife several years previously.
6. Anime Supremacy! (ハケンアニメ, Kohei Yoshino)
Broad comedy inspired by the CLAMP manga in which a young woman who has been patiently working towards her directorial debut in the anime industry enters a rivalry with the director who once inspired her and is returning to the director’s chair for the first time in eight years.
6. Plan 75 (Chie Hayakawa)
Powerful dystopian drama expanded from Hayakawa’s short in the 10 Years Japan anthology. Chieko Baisho stars as an elderly woman increasingly excluded from mainstream society who is pushed towards a voluntary euthanasia programme for the over 75s.
9. Missing (さがす, Shinzo Katayama)
Eerie mystery thriller drawing inspiration from the true life “Twitter Killer” case in which a young girl becomes concerned for her father when he disappears shortly after claiming to have spotted a fugitive serial killer in the local area.
9. Thousand and One Nights (千夜、一夜, Nao Kubota)
Plaintive drama in which two women are left with a series of unanswered questions following the disappearances of their husbands. While the older continues to wait in patient desperation 30 years later, the younger seeks permission to move on though neither of them know any peace.
Best 10 International
- Licorice Pizza
- Top Gun: Maverick
- Parallel Mothers
- Cry Macho
- West Side Story
- In Front of Your Face
Best 10 Documentaries
1. Watashi no Hanashi Buraku no Hanashi (私のはなし 部落のはなし, Yusaku Mitsuwaka)
2. Kagawa District 1 (香川1区, Arata Oshima)
3. Tamaneko, Tamabito (たまねこ、たまびと, Hiroyasu Murakami)
4. Education and Nationalism (教育と愛国, Hisayo Saika)
5. Soup and Ideology (スープとイデオロギー, Yang Yonghi)
6. Patriotic Confessions: Breaking the Silence Part2 (愛国の告白—沈黙を破るPart2—, Toshikuni Doi)
7. Ushiku (牛久, Thomas Ash)
8. Yakeato Chronicle (焼け跡クロニクル, Masato Hara)
9. Long Time Passing (失われた時の中で, Masako Sakata)
9. Kita no Tomoshibi: Neuengamme Kyosei Shuyojo to Bullenhuser Damm no Kodomotachi (北のともしび −ノイエンガンメ強制収容所とブレンフーザー・ダムの子どもたち−, Shizu Azuma)
Best Director: Banmei Takahashi (No Place to Go)
Best Screenplay: Aki Kajiwara (No Place to Go)
Best Director (international): Pedro Almodóvar (Parallel Mothers)
Best Actress: Yukino Kishii (Small, Slow But Steady; God Wants Payback; Inu mo Kuwane do Charlie wa Warau; One Day, You Will Reach the Sea)
Best Actor: Kenji Sawada (The Zen Diary)
Best Supporting Actress: Ryoko Hirosue (2 Women, The Hound of the Baskervilles: Sherlock the Movie, The Confidence Man JP -Episode of the Hero)
Best Supporting Actor: Tomokazu Miura (Small, Slow But Steady; Sen wa, Boku wo Egaku; Goodbye, Cruel World)
Best Newcomer (actress): Lina Kahafizadeh (My Small Land)
Best Newcomer (actor): Ren Meguro (Phases of the Moon, Osomatsu-san)
Readers’ Choice Best Director: Sho Miyake (Small, Slow But Steady)
Readers’ Choice Best Director (international): Sian Heder (Coda)
Readers’ Choice Award: Saburo Kawamoto (Eiga wo Mireba Wakaru Koto)
Special Award: Nobuhiko Kobayashi (novelist and film writer)
Source: Kinema Junpo official website.