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Best Undistributed Films of 2022

Our Best Undistributed Films list, voted on by Film Comment contributors worldwide, recognizes the new films that were viewed—at festivals, or elsewhere—in 2022 but did not come out in theaters in the U.S. for a full theatrical run. All of the below films had no announced U.S. distribution at press time—though do keep an eye on Film Comment for future coverage.

For the best films that received a theatrical run in the U.S. this year, here’s the Best Films of 2022 list.

Curious to see who voted and for which films? Check out our voters’ individual ballots here.

Also online: curator Inney Prakash’s list of Best Short Films of 2022, and filmmaker and programmer Gina Telaroli’s list of Best Restorations of 2022.

Peruse the poll results of yesteryear.


The Plains

David Easteal, Australia
In Easteal’s first feature, the Australian director adopts a durational model of filmmaking that arguably hit its peak around the turn of the 2010s, but he parlays the conceptual framework into a casually engrossing work free of slow cinema’s more trying aspects (e.g., long passages of silence; quasi-symbolic characters on seemingly endless quests toward enlightenment). Running 180 minutes and set almost entirely inside a car, The Plains depicts the daily commute of a middle-aged businessman from the parking lot of a Melbourne law office to his home in the city’s outer suburbs. Every day, at just after 5 p.m., Andrew (Andrew Rakowski) gets into his Hyundai, calls his wife, and checks in with his ailing mother, before listening to talk radio for the remainder of the hour-long drive. Occasionally, he offers a lift to a coworker, David (played by Easteal), who’s going through a breakup and is generally dissatisfied with his personal and professional life. Over the course of the film—told recursively, beginning at the same time and location each day—Andrew and David reveal themselves in casual, offhand conversations (apparently scripted but delivered so naturally as to evoke the feel of a documentary) that accumulate into an acute portrait of modern life—one in which otherwise unarticulated beliefs, regrets, and anxieties bring to light a shared humanity too often lost in the commotion of the world.—Jordan Cronk