tiff movies 2022

50 must-see movies at TIFF 2022 according to festival programmers

With hundreds of movies to choose from at TIFF 2022 it can be extra helpful to get some films picked out by the very people who selected them for inclusion in the first place.

The movies on this list come from a wide range of genres and many countries, each providing a unique and potentially extraordinary experience for any cinema fan.

Here are some must-see movies at TIFF 2022 according to the festival programmers.

Cameron Bailey – CEO of TIFF, Gala Presentations
The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg dives deep into the pain and joy of Jewish family life in mid-century America in a way he's only grazed before. A glorious celebration of the movies from one of its greatest artists.

Riceboy Sleeps

Writer-director Anthony Shim delivers one of the best stories of becoming Canadian that this country has ever produced. Raw, intimate and graced with beautiful visuals, this Korean Canadian drama is a must-see.

Other People's Children (Les enfants des autres)

French star Virginie Efira shocked in Paul Verhoeven's Benedetta. Here she completely charms in Rebecca Zlotowski's story of a woman falling in love with a divorced father while navigating the nuances of step-motherhood. 

Anita Lee – Chief Programming Officer
La Juaria

A debut feature by Colombian director Andrés Ramírez Pulido firmly establishes Pulido as a rising star. A haunting and compelling film about teenage boys in an experimental reformatory, the film explores the power of father figures, masculinity and a history of violence.

Return to Seoul

Davy Chou's film follows a 25-year-old French adoptee to Seoul seeking her biological identity. With unexpected twists to her journey that provides intriguing glimpses of Seoul, charismatic newcomer Min-Jin Park delivers a captivating performance.


Hawa by Maïmouma Doucouré is an enchanting tale of a young girl’s mission to be adopted by her icon Michelle Obama before her terminally ill grandmother dies and leaves her orphaned. Her grandmother is played by world music legend Oumou Sangaré.

Robyn Citizen – Director, Festival Programming & Cinematheque, US Indies
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aitch Alberto’s tender feature debut follows 15-year-olds as they get to know each other over a summer and develop a strong bond that grows into something more. Produced by Lin Manuel Miranda, the result is a beautifully unique coming-of-age story.

Susie Searches

Smart and dependable Susie (Kiersey Clemons) juggles university classes, a part-time job, an internship, being a caretaker and her passion project — hosting an obscure true crime podcast. This fun, brisk thriller is laced with darkly comedic moments and a number of twists along the way.

Geoff Macnaughton – Senior Director Theatrical and Industry | Lead Programmer, Primetime

In the compelling new series from Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese (Dark), passengers aboard a migrant ship bound for New York City encounter a chilling sight that changes the course of their journey.

Dear Mama

Allen Hughes' quintessential documentary series explores the life and legacy of hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur and his mother, the Black Panther activist Afeni Shakur.

Steve Gravestock – Senior International Programmer, Festival Programming, Canada, Nordic Region

The first feature from Lafleur in several years, his latest shows that he is still one of Quebec’s (and Canada’s) most skilled and singular filmmakers. One of the most surprising and compelling films at this year’s TIFF.

Something You Said Last Night

Featuring an extraordinary ensemble cast, the film is driven by a great performance by Carmen Madonia, which like the film, is ground breaking on many levels.

Unruly (Ustyrlig)

The film follows strong willed, hellion teenager who’s thrilled by the liberating changes occurring in Danish society. When the neighbours begin gossiping, she's deemed anti-social and institutionalized. A disturbing analysis of how oppression destroys the lives of everyone no matter where they are in the power structure.

The Young Arsonists

Four teenaged girls take refuge from their troubled home lives by occupying an abandoned farm house Sheila Pye's atmospheric debut feature. Visually striking and psychologically acute, the film digs deep into the girls' traumas, exploring the principals' desperate need for independence and the pain of letting go.

Ravi Srinivasan – Senior Manager, TIFF Programming, Southeast Asia (Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia) and Canada

My favourite to win the Oscar for Best International Film of the year, Saim Sadiq's majestic trans/family drama that will leave you speechless. Bring your friends, family and everyone you know. Don't miss this masterpiece!

Until Branches Bend

Starring Toronto's very own Grace Glowicki in another brilliant performance, Sophie Jarvis' compelling debut drama is about a distraught cannery worker who discovers an invasive species of insect in a peach that could threaten the livelihood of her town—news which everyone refuses to believe.

Andréa Picard – Senior Curator, TIFF & TIFF Cinematheque, Wavelengths
Saint Omer

An astonishing fictional debut by award-wining documentarian Alice Diop, Saint Omer is based on a wrenching true story in which a young mother was put on trial for allegedly killing her infant daughter in a small town in Northern France. One of the year's most accomplished and surprising debuts.

Concrete Valley

The much-anticipated second feature by part-time Torontonian Antoine Bourges chronicles the daily lives of a Syrian family who settled in Thorncliffe Park following the big exodus of 2015. A Toronto film about an under-represented part of the city shot with elegance and care.

I Thought the World of You

A wistful and speculative portrait of reclusive Canadian music legend Lewis, whose mysterious cult-like album “Amour” was re-discovered after a record collector came across it in an Edmonton flea market.

The Eternal Woman

The latest film by Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir I & II) reunites her with the incredible Tilda Swinton in one of the greatest feats of the actor’s career. Shot in secret during the pandemic, this Victorian gothic ghost movie is as spooky and eerie as it is moving, dryly funny, and stylistically smart.


A colonial thriller set in Tahiti and shot in gorgeous wideshots, the film follows the political machinations of a shifty French High Commissioner to French Polynesia played by a superb Benoit Magimel. As suspense and paranoia accrue, the film’s sublime visuals consume the screen is a sort of emblazoned heart of darkness.

Kelly Boutsalis – Associate International Programmer, Canadian

Gail Maurice, a familiar face in Indigenous cinema, tells this story of a suddenly orphaned Indigenous girl who finds her chosen family among her Francophone aunt and her two friends in 1980s Montreal.

Ever Deadly

Fans of the singular Inuk singer, author and artist Tanya Tagaq will love this documentary for the inside look at her life, and traditional and experimental throat-singing performances. An entertaining peek at the soft-spoken and funny Tagaq, her favourite place in Nunavut, and an affecting moment with her mom.

Jason Ryle – International Programmer, Indigenous Cinema
Sweet As

I've been a fan of Jub Clerc's short films for years and I'm thrilled we are presenting her first feature film, a touching, uplifting coming of age story told from an all-too-rare cinematic perspective: that of an Indigenous teenage girl, who finds her strength through photography.

We Are Still Here

Indigenous-made anthology films have had a strong showing in recent years and this feature is another breath of fresh air. Ten of the most talented Indigenous filmmakers from Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and the South Pacific join forces to create a powerful tapestry of cultural pride, resilience and hope.

Jane Schoettle – Senior International Programmer, Special Presentations
Women Talking

Toronto’s own Sarah Polley directs an all-star cast including Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, and Frances McDormand in a story about a group of women who confront abuse within their small spiritual community. It’s an elegant adaptation (also done by Polley) of Miriam Toews’ acclaimed novel that is at once visionary, fierce, and deeply moving.


Toronto native Clement Virgo returns to the city with a staggering film about two Trinidadian-Canadian brothers whose dreams are dashed by a violent reality growing up in 1990s Scarborough. A powerful and universal story about grief, community, and love - it’s the must-see Toronto movie of the year.


Jennifer Lawrence returns to her indie roots with an understated yet penetrating performance in a film about a soldier (Lawrence) who comes back home carrying wounds both psychological and spiritual.


Told with graceful flair by Toronto born director Stephen Williams, this is the forgotten story of one of history’s most important Black classical composers as he rises through the French aristocracy, hides a forbidden love affair, and goes toe-to-toe with Mozart, facing racism and palace intrigue at every turn.

Jason Anderson – International Programmer, Short Cuts
All-inclusive (Todo incluido)

The story of an adolescent boy who joins his father and stepmom at a luxury resort only to bear witness to a crisis that threatens to tear his family apart, Duque’s 20-minute knockout contains a whole feature’s worth of power and poignancy. (Screening in Short Cuts Programme 1.)

Shadow of the Butterflies

We can’t stop watching this exquisitely dreamy and absolutely gorgeous piece by Moroccan-born animator Sofia El Khyari, which we’re stoked to have at the festival direct from its world premiere at Locarno. (Screening in Short Cuts Programme 2.)

Scaring Women At Night

Set on a dark street in Toronto, it’s a continually surprising drama that explores social cues, gender identity and familiar fears with a degree of frankness and insightfulness that left us totally wowed. (Screening in Short Cuts Programme 6.)

Diana Cadavid – International Programmer, Latin American, Spain, Portugal, and Latine diaspora

Somewhere in the Brazilian countryside Irene (Maeve Jinkings), Jairo (Rômulo Braga) and their nine-year-old son Jean (Jean Costa) live with her bedridden father in a precarious situation. A deadpan comedy of a very dark kind, making us question the limits of the absurd and mediocrity.

Vicenta B.

A Cuban woman who has the ability to see into the future and communicate with the spirits is forced to face an existential crisis product of loss and a disconnection with the spirit world. A touching ode to life and the healing power of letting go.

Stories Not to be Told (Historias para no Contar)

A collection of five short stories featuring a fine cast of adults of different ages trying to deal with the curve balls that life suddenly throws at them, encapsulating painfully relatable moments of vulnerability, extreme awkwardness and insecurity.

Love and Mathematics (Amor y matemáticas)

In a middle-class suburban Mexican enclave near the American border, a story of longing and disconnection occurs. Director Claudia Saint-Luce creates a nuanced comedy out of the struggles of a Mexican couple to conform to or break away from social norms and expectations.

Nataleah Hunter-Young – International Programmer, Africa and Arab West Asia
The Gravity (La Gravité)

The sophomore feature from French Burkinabé actor Cédric Ido centres on a mysterious planetary event that upsets both the gravity and the fragile equilibrium of a Parisian suburb, which is ruled by a cosmically-connected crew of young “entrepreneurs.”

The Umbrella Men

South African writer-director John Barker confidently weaves comedy and crime film in this focus on Cape Malay’s struggles for freedom, brought to you by a carnival, a bumping brass section, and a bank heist.

Alam (The Flag)

In this immersive debut from Firas Khoury, five Israeli-Palestinian high-school classmates — struggling under the burden of forced forgetting — weigh the risks involved in remembering a different history.


In this gripping and carefully developed drama from editor–turned–writer-director Angela Wanjiku Wamai, a teacher newly released from prison renegotiates the confines of the physical world while forced to face his nightmare in the flesh.

Peter Kuplowsky – International Programmer, Midnight Madness
The People's Joker

Vera Drews and hundreds of largely LGTBQ+ collaborators have handcrafted a familiar comic-book universe gets to the heart of these iconic comic-book characters better than most multi-million dollar adaptations. A true underground cinema gem!

How to Blow Up a Pipeline

The story barrels ahead with a wicked sense of propulsion thanks to some canny non-linear editing that judiciously enters and exits its many suspense setpieces. Genre thrills mix with provocative messaging and call-to-action to commit property damage in the name of fighting climate change.

Leonor Will Never Die (Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago)

More measuredly paced than most Midnight fare, the movie is a profound tribute to the cultures and communities that genre cinema can foreground and foster, while authentically capturing the aesthetics of vintage Pinoy action movies. Imbued with that special kind of esoteric cult movie magic embraced by late-night crowd.

Dorota Lech – International Programmer and Discovery Lead, Eastern Europe, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, The Balkan and Caucasus Regions
The Inspection

Elegance Bratton’s remarkable debut, a retelling of the filmmaker's own life story, follows a man (Jeremy Pope) who joins the Marine Corps after being thrown out of his mother’s home at 16 for being gay and living for years in housing precarity.

Thunder (Foudre)

After the sudden and mysterious death of her sister, a 17-year-old novitiate explores her God-given right to experience life to the fullest, during the summer of 1900 in Switzerland.


Following his Aslan Trilogy in which the third installment The River, received a special mention in TIFF ’18s Platform section, director and co-writer Emir Baigazin returns to Toronto with his astutely acerbic observation about our modern reflections and asks: If our images of self – regardless of their truth – are lost, what would we do to get it all back?

Thom Powers – Lead Programmer, TIFF Docs
The Grab

A stunning work of investigative journalism based on a massive leak of documents revealed for the first time in this film by the director of Blackfish.

Pray for Our Sinners

A personal exploration of how residents in a small Irish town pushed back against the all powerful Catholic Church over pregnancy out of wedlock and corporal punishment in schools.

Patrick and the Whale

A dazzling underwater adventure swimming with whales through the experiences of diver Patrick Dysktra.

Self-Portrait As A Coffee Pot

The acclaimed South African artist William Kentridge lets us into his studio for a thrilling exploration of creativity.

Lead photo by

The Inspection

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