Fradique Bastos


Voted for

Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance1983Godfrey Reggio
Roma2018Alfonso Cuarón
Touki Bouki1973Djibril Diop Mambéty
Paris, Texas1984Wim Wenders
Happy Together1997Wong Kar Wai
Do the Right Thing1989Spike Lee
Lost in Translation2003Sofia Coppola
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind2004Michel Gondry
Lazzaro felice2018Alice Rohrwacher
The City of God2002Fernando Meirelles


Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance

1983 USA

The first film in the Qatsi trilogy is its most poignant and epic. With its foreshadowing title, ‘life out of balance’, the film has become one of our planet’s living memorials. Forty years later there is not a single frame of this striking work of art that doesn’t resonate with where we are now as society – capitalism failed and global warming is real. Reggio wisely said about his trilogy: “From my point of view, our language is in a state of vast humiliation. It no longer describes the world in which we live.” As if we died and came back to see what happened, the film reveals to us without a single word, no dialogue or narration, what we’ve become, while listening to one the greatest soundtracks ever composed, by Philip Glass.


2018 Mexico, USA

Roma mindfully and skilfully uses of all the tools in filmmaking in a way that very few films do. It the quality of a memory to it, especially when it comes to the sound design and the carefully choreographed, painterly long shots. Cuarón’s most personal film puts at center of the story the character Cleo, a domestic worker and nanny played by Yalitza Aparicio. Not afraid to truly show Cleo’s poor working conditions and her employees’ abusive demands, the filmmaker brings a different perspective to what is usually seen in other films – where domestic workers are portrayed in a very stereotypical, whitewashed and one-dimensional way. Every time I watch this film I become instantly absorbed by how the filmmaker is able to reveal in a very moving and precise way the repressive silence that surrounds Cleo and many millions of domestic workers everyday around the world.

Touki Bouki

1973 Senegal

There’s nothing like Touki Bouki and I dare say there is a before and after in Africa cinema with the release of this Senegalese film. A true original and cult classic. The cinema of our continent was born out of our struggle for our independence, so many of our first films were embedded with socialist realism narratives, but Mambéty saw beyond that. For him, “Cinema is magic in the service of dreams.” The fears, desires or contractions of the two main characters in Touki Bouki, Mory and Anta, are constructed in a very non-linear narrative, dream-like quality with a rawness far from the typical road trip genre films. This film plays like a poem and reads like jazz but rest assured, it never forgets its politics.

Paris, Texas

1984 Federal Republic of Germany, France, United Kingdom

After almost two decades of American road movies, where the road had became the only possible home for a generation confused by their disillusionment with the American dream, Paris, Texas' by Wim Wenders, a German director, comes along, bringing a unique depth and soul to the genre, at all levels. With one of my favourite screenplays of all time, carefully composed by Sam Shepard, the film exposes family trauma and how patriarchy hurts both women and men in a very profound way. Wenders’ delicate direction is marked by Ry Cooder’s raw slide guitar and once in a lifetime performances from all of the cast.

Happy Together

1997 Hong Kong

This Wong Kar-Wai film showed me a new harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary for cinema. Although In the Mood for Love is his most celebrated film, this one has something very special in its rawness and the disintegrating relationship between the two main characters. Like any Wong Kar Wai film, the music is more than a mood, it’s a character, a memory, a place. Here he uses Astor Piazzolla’s looming bandoneon and for the first time what would become many filmmakers favourite, Cucurrucucu Paloma by Caetano Veloso (used also by Pedro Almodovár in Talk to Her and Barry Jenkins in Moonlight). I love this film so much that it made me visit the infamous Bar Sur in Buenos Aires to remember Lai’s long working nights.

Do the Right Thing

1989 USA

This film, more than any other Spike Lee film, gave me the politics and the confidence to be proud in finding my own voice as a filmmaker. Its aesthetics are revolutionary at all levels, from the opening titles, to wardrobe, art direction to the soundtrack – every detail sweats classic vibes. Spike consolidates here his own and unique film language, where art and politics will always walk hand in hand. A crucial and indispensable film in understanding what happens in every society built on structural racism and racial injustice. More than thirty years after its release, the urgency of each single issue addressed in this film is still yet to be resolved. The exasperation that I felt watching Radio Raheem’s death carries on to this day, with murders of thousands of black Americans like Eric Garner and George Floyd. A film that should be mandatory viewing in every school in the U.S. “That’s the truth, Ruth.”

Lost in Translation

2003 USA, Japan

Although released right before the boom of social media and smartphones, this film captures so well the detachment and disconnection in our lives – back then, nowadays and maybe in many years to come. Charlotte and Bob, stuck in hotel limbo in Tokyo, surrounded by the city’s overly hectic life, develop a rare connection that perfectly mirrors this permanent pursuit for a deeper sense in one’s life. Sofia Coppola lets her characters grow slowly and reveal their peculiarities, either in their most intimate moments or enclosed by crowds of people. A film to revisit every time you are at crossroads in your life.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

2004 USA

My favourite breakup story on film and constant reminder to have fun while shooting a film. Michel Gondry is a filmmaker whose ingenious and analogue ideas only match the film pioneers Alice Guy-Blaché and Georges Méliès. There is a physicality in how he constructs his stories that I admire and strive for. Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay is one of the most original ever written. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions that speaks volumes about relationships, regret and memory and still is fresh today. Who can ever forget Joel and Clementine?

Lazzaro felice

2018 Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany

The film that reminded me what cinema and art should be about. This heartfelt and unsettling tale grows slowly within the audience's soul while talking about some of the most important issues of our century: class, exploitation and labor. Skillfully constructed, this film deepens you as a human being. The way Alice Rohrwacher plays with time and space makes you feel like you are inside of a memory or a dream in a way that I had never seen before in a film. Some might say the character of Lazzaro is too good for the world he lives in; I would say Lazzaro and this perfect film by Alice Rohrwacher are exactly what the world needs more of.

The City of God

2002 Brazil, Germany, France

After many years of only having access to Hollywood movies in Angola, where the heroes were white men who always spoke in English and the locations looked nothing like the world around me, in came “Cidade de Deus” (City of God). This film not only impacted the young me, but the whole world. Having a favela as a central character in the film and immersing the audience completely within its fast-paced tale changed Brazil’s cinema history. Its on-the-edge direction, editing, photography and raw performances by many non-actors became a reference point for many young filmmakers, especially in the Global South.

Further remarks

For me, choosing these films was very challenging and rewarding at the same time. Challenging because of course there are so many great films that were left out, but in the end these ten films are the ones which brought me so many different good memories. I wouldn’t mind sending them into deep space for a new form of life to find out about our time here on this earth.