Culture / Film

Here is a roundup of the top ten documentaries to look forward to in 2022

best new documentaries 2022

With the pandemic still taking its toll on us both mentally and energetically, we are always looking for a little viewing reprieve. Once again, in 2022 we are granted a fresh drop of thought provoking documentaries ready for our viewing pleasure. While we have had many unfortunate delays, with film releases pushed back left right and centre. The world has been through a cataclysmic apocalypse of change both culturally and politically. This coming year, will explore a vanguard of these issues, from everything to music, celebrity scandal and modern tech forces. With many more still to announce here is our list of all the most anticipated documentary releases of the year.

1. The Janes

This Sundance entry from Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes, follows the Jane Collective, a secret organisation for women in Chicago, who helped women maintain safe illegal abortions between 1969 and 1973. During the same time the supreme court secured a woman's right to abortion in Roe v Wade. It takes a look back at the underground services of safe houses, and the lengths involved in achieving careful anonymity. Offering a blistering look at the potential dystopic future of a 2022 America that is on the cusp of criminalising abortion.


2. We Need to Talk About Cosby

Political commentator and CNN host W Kamau Bell explores one of the most fractious cultural legacies in recent history. In this case the story of Bill Cosby, the comedian and former sitcom staple, convicted of sexual assault in 2018. Cosby was freed in 2021 after the Supreme Court overturned his conviction on a legal technicality. Over 60 women have come forward detailing the assault which follows often insidious and sickening patterns. The four part series leaves no stone unturned in an outrageous retelling of how white supremacy, toxic masculinity and rape culture continue to reshape and plague our culture in disturbing ways.


3. Calendar Girls

In a wonderful exploration of youth at any age, we have Calendar Girls. A story chronicling the lives of a group of "sixty-something" year old women on a Florida dance team. The film explores their lives on the dance circuit, with some fascinating references that highlight the emphasis on ageism in our culture. With such whimsy, and exuberance we are taken on a coming of age story that offers a poignant and heartfelt sentiment. Shot beautifully, with choreographed joie de vivre.


4. TikTok, Boom

In the height of our current Tik Tok preoccupation we have TikTok Boom, a film following three viral sensations and the rise of their popularity through the platform. The film is a fascinating insight into the future of our tech forces, exploring the algorithm, geopolitical and ethical experiences of content creators in the digital age.


5. Meet Me in the Bathroom

When it comes to music documentaries of the year, this is one to bookmark in the calendar. Filmmakers Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace have compiled a digital camera's worth of archival footage from the golden era of indie rock music. Looking back at the 2000's the film explores an oral history of alternative artists that shaped the New York scene including the Yeah Yeah Yeah's and LCD Soundsystem. Front woman of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O plays a seminal part in the documentary, looking at how her life and style shaped the culture of the early aughts.


6. The Princess

best documentaries

After viewing the master piece that was Kristen Stewart's performance in Spencer, we knew there was so much more to dig beneath the surface. As it turns out, we were right with The Princess once again shedding light on the layered and tormented inner world of Princess Diana. In a retelling that will certainly bring up more questions and topics of debate in the world of royal politics.


7. Lucy and Desi

As we've seen with Spencer, Biopics have been big this year. If the feature film dramatisation of Aaron Sorkin's Being the Ricardo's wasn't up your alley, then consider this an option worth considering. Here Amy Poehler takes us on a ride of the life, times and witty pizzaz that was Lucy and Desi. Dropping on March 4th on Amazon Prime, the film has already previewed at Sundance to welcome reviews.


8. The Occupied City

Steve McQueen's award winning documentary about Nazi-occupied Amsterdam has been on the back burner for a few years. While it's still pending release for 2022, it looks to be one for the books. The film is based on Atlas van een Bezette Stad's book, Amsterdam 1940-1945. With a large 5.1 million budget involved, it is looking to be a blockbuster worthy of future Oscar contention.


9. Nothing Compares

documentaries 2022

Musical documentaries have been a hot commodity of late, and 2022 seems to be the year we take a tribute to some of these legacies. This year that looks to be a tribute to Sinead O'Connor. The film takes a deep dive into the soulful and enigmatic career of the prolific artist. Including some of her prominent political downfalls.


10. Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye West trilogy

This three-part documentary looks into the distinctive artist that is Kanye west. Including a look back at his career, and the moments that shaped his musical legacy. The film is set to stream on Netflix on February 16 and will include old archival footage from his life growing up in Chicago into his career as a hip hop artist.


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Images via Sundance Institute.