Miriam Balanescu


Voted for

1963Federico Fellini
Wings of Desire1987Wim Wenders
Portrait of a Lady on Fire2019Céline Sciamma
Pulp Fiction1994Quentin Tarantino
Phoenix2014Christian Petzold
All about My Mother1999Pedro Almodóvar
The Time That Remains2009Elia Suleiman
12 Years a Slave2013Steve McQueen
Vertigo1958Alfred Hitchcock
Parasite2019Bong Joon-ho


1963 Italy, France

Fellini's magnum opus follows a deliciously flawed protagonist, voyaging into his psychological recesses of hypermasculinity, vulnerability and creative stultification - though ironically told through a series of utterly inspired dream sequences. Fellini's final black-and-white film, 8½ cemented the director as an unparalleled visionary - while also remaining the ultimate meta film which would become the touchstone for consecutive generations of film auteurs.

Wings of Desire

1987 Federal Republic of Germany, France

With its flowing, boundless narrative style whose popularity persists in works from the likes of Roy Andersson, Wings of Desire is of monumental historic significance, almost documentary-like in its capturing of a divided Berlin. Told with a fragility and poignancy never quite replicated again in cinema, this is surely Wim Wenders' greatest film.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

2019 France

Radical in its tenderness, Sciamma's period love story is stunning for its cinematography, music and performances by Merlant and Haenel. Already well-entrenched on the cinematic landscape, I look forward to seeing how it further influences future filmmaking.

Pulp Fiction

1994 USA

Perhaps Tarantino's most experimental film to date, in attempting to make film a more novelistic form the director wound up with a self-reflective riot of genres - crime, noir and the spaghetti western - and pop-culture references mashed together to create something gloriously new.


2014 Germany, Poland

Petzold's films are famous for tackling the aftermath of the Nazi regime in Germany, and Phoenix, starring Nina Hoss in her sixth collaboration with the director, is his most haunting, harrowing response to his country's history. The drama's two leads are captivating as Holocaust survivor and the husband who betrayed her.

All about My Mother

1999 Spain, France

Almodovar's oeuvre may lean on melodrama and convoluted plotlines but his contribution towards queer cinema is undeniable. All About My Mother is simply iconic for its garish aesthetics, Penélope Cruz's role as a downtrodden nun and unquestionably original meditations on motherhood.

The Time That Remains

2009 France, Belgium, Italy, Egypt, United Kingdom

Suleiman's defining irreverent and yet restrained style has seeped into the wider cinematic zeitgeist of the 21st century, from Roy Andersson to, most recently, Ben Sharrock. Nimbly balanced between comedy and emotional punch, The Time That Remains is his autobiographical masterpiece.

12 Years a Slave

2013 USA, Luxembourg, United Kingdom

Steve McQueen's epic adaptation of Solomon Northup's memoir is a landmark in film history, an essential and uncompromising portrayal of the African-American experience and crucially already making tsunami waves in popular culture.


1958 USA

A heady vortex of infatuation, fear and desire which consolidated James Stewart's seat as one of Hollywood's then most versatile actors, Vertigo, just one of Hitchcock's ingenious cinematic puzzles, makes crystal clear the director's ambition for film as visually boundary-pushing, and has left a legacy spanning David Lynch to Lou Ye.


2019 Republic of Korea

Chameleonic in its genres, shapeshifting from social realism to comedy, thriller to dystopia, Bong Joon-ho's multilayered masterpiece at once pithily sums up the stark evils of class divides (which speaks so universally) while also, prism-like, rewarding endless rewatches and re-interpretations. Bong Joon-ho can surely be credited with bringing Korean cinema to a worldwide audience, and both film and television may never quite be the same again.