Kiva Reardon

Founding editor, cléo journal

Voted for

Cléo from 5 to 71962Agnès Varda
Les SILENCES DU PALAIS1994Moufida Tlatli
Beau travail1998Claire Denis
The Battle of Algiers1966Gillo Pontecorvo
Happy Together1997Wong Kar Wai
Daughters of the Dust1991Julie Dash
La Jetée1962Chris Marker
Black Girl1965Ousmane Sembène
News from Home1976Chantal Akerman
Body and Soul1925Oscar Micheaux


Cléo from 5 to 7

1962 France, Italy

This film not only changed my life personally and professionally, but forever altered the way I watch films and understand storytelling. How Varda uses exploring public space and the private self at the same time; how geopolitics and death hover at edges; her play with cinematic form and time. Above all: the openness of the ending that lets us back into the film's multitudes of meaning each time it is revisited.


1994 Tunisia, France

I came across this film later in life, which speaks to how certain films and filmmakers are still kept out of the canon. Each time I rewatch it, I am emotionally destroyed by the intimacy of the intergenerational mother-daughter story and struck by how Tlatli so neatly captures and exposes the insidious legacies of colonialism and patriarchy.

Beau travail

1998 France

Much has been written about how Claire Denis uses the language of the body’s form in lieu of the verbal. To me, this film embodies (no pun intended) this to perfection.

The Battle of Algiers

1966 Italy, Algeria

A remarkable--and seemingly continually relevant--piece of filmmaking as resistance that’s also utterly gripping.

Happy Together

1997 Hong Kong

Perhaps not the typical Wong Kar Wai selection, but this romance continues to resonate so deeply thanks to its stars (Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-wai), cinematography (Christopher Doyle), and its embodiment of aching yearning.

Daughters of the Dust

1991 USA

Often talked about as a “first” and “historic,” Julie Dash’s film is also, simply, a masterpiece. Dash creates an immersive universe with her use of poetic formal structure and impressionistic visuals (Arthur Jafa’s cinematography must be noted).

La Jetée

1962 France

Chris Marker said so much about time and memory in this mid-length film essay that, to this day, it remains a touchstone reference.

Black Girl

1965 Senegal, France

In only 59 minutes, Ousmane Sembène eviscerates the myth of "liberté, égalité, fraternité" with his portrait of a young Senegalese maid in Paris. Blistering in its examination of so-called post-colonialism, the film’s rigour also speaks to Sembène’s brilliant craft.

News from Home

1976 France, Belgium

A city portrait of a now-gone New York and, sadly, in a way of Chantal Akerman herself. News From Home centres on the tension that occurs when after yearning for new space this sensation gives way to the reality of prolonged (perhaps even unbridgeable) distance: the inescapable condition of loneliness.

Body and Soul

1925 USA

An early (and still incisive) critique of the church and its abuses of power that showcases filmmaker Oscar Micheaux’s talents and his socially engaged, boundary pushing storytelling.