Maya S. Cade

Creator and Curator, Black Film Archive (

Voted for

Daughters of the Dust1991Julie Dash
A Matter of Life and Death1946Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Moonlight2016Barry Jenkins
Losing Ground1982Kathleen Collins
The Apartment1960Billy Wilder
Killer of Sheep1977Charles Burnett
Nothing but a Man1964Michael Roemer
Time2020Garrett Bradley
North by Northwest1959Alfred Hitchcock
Design for Living1933Ernst Lubitsch


Choosing ten great films is an impossible task. My impulses are guided by being Black and a woman. A perspective I am often called, indirectly, to shrink in order to be a 'cinephile'. I know, however, that my perspective is a place of expansion.

In truth, I am a fan of the usual suspects that appear on these lists (8½, Breathless, Sunset Blvd., Late Spring, 2001, et al.) but arrived at my final list by questioning the idea of only restating the status quo as some show of my depth of understanding. The films listed have expanded my scope of what cinema can be. They are euphoric, rich, awe-inspiring, and use love as a guide. That is great cinema.