Miryam Charles’s Top 10

Miryam Charles’s Top10

Miryam Charles is a Canadian director, producer, and cinematographer of Haitian origin. Her short films have been showcased in various festivals around the world. In 2022, her first feature film, Cette maison, premiered at the Berlinale; also screened at the AFI, IndieLisboa, Viennale, Art of the Real, and Canada’s Top 10 2022 at TIFF; and was named one of the best films of the year by Sight and Sound. That same year, she premiered the short film Au crépuscule at the Locarno Film Festival. She is currently working on her next feature, Le marabout, as well as a group exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo.

As an introduction to her list, she wrote: “I find it incredibly difficult to write about cinema, and even harder to write about favorite films. How do I find the words? Do these words even exist? Cinema is a strange, brilliant, fascinating object, both near and far. A poetic and political object. I let the film unfold within me, and then I examine what remains. I’d like to have written poems for each of these films. I haven’t found the words yet. Maybe in a few years I will find better ones. Or maybe never.”

Jun 20, 2024
  • 1

    Frank Borzage


    What I’ve always admired about Borzage is his ability to make me experience a moment of humanity with great nuance. Moonrise is a film dear to my heart. Every time I see it, I think of my grandmother. When I was very little (too little), I watched Top Gun with her, and at the end of the film, she started crying. To console her, I kept saying, there’s no need to cry—it’s not real, the hero isn’t really dead. I cry every time I see Moonrise, and I also think of that exchange with my grandmother, who is no longer here.

  • 2

    Ousmane Sembène


    I discovered Ousmane Sembène’s cinema before I even knew I was going to be a filmmaker. At the time, I was always on the lookout for foreign films at the Cinémathèque québécoise. His films, especially Mandabi, helped me find my way, and gave me confidence in the power of telling stories differently, without fear.

  • 3

    Sarah Maldoror


    I first saw Sambizanga two years ago. I’d heard a lot about it, and it was on my list of films to see on the big screen. The film made a profound impact on me, and also reminded me that the goal of cinema will always be freedom.

  • 4

    Charles Burnett

    To Sleep with Anger

    This was an inspiration for my first feature film. It helped me find the courage to tackle uncomfortable and painful subjects. And that title! There’s something very beautiful in it. It lives in the realm of hope, but it invokes the anger that should never leave us.

  • 5

    Cauleen Smith


    I immediately recognized myself as the protagonist of this film, a young woman who makes a work of art that seems mysterious, incomplete, and incoherent to others. I also appreciated how the movie explores the subject of archiving images, including family photographs and community pictures. A great work of cinema.

  • 6

    Claire Denis

    Beau travail

    Every time I think of Beau travail, I feel a surge of melancholy. It’s like finding myself immersed in a poem.

  • 7

    Apichatpong Weerasethakul

    Mysterious Object at Noon

    One of my favorite films by this director. I feel like I’m caught between the worlds of dreams, memory, and reality. Even though my stories, life, and film experiences are fundamentally different from Apichatpong’s, I have a great affinity for his work. Maybe it’s because I don’t dream that I cherish films that spring from that mysterious part of human consciousness. His approach to sound also appeals to me, particularly in this film.

  • 8

    Lucrecia Martel

    La Ciénaga

    For me, La Ciénaga is a perfect work of art. It’s a film I listen to very often. I was lucky enough to see it twice in the cinema, and the second time I closed my eyes—I just listened.

  • 9

    Guillermo del Toro

    Pan’s Labyrinth

    This is one of the films I’ve seen the most times in the cinema. Back when it was released, I worked in a movie theater, Cinéma du Parc, and could go see movies for free. This film renewed my faith in the infinite possibilities of cinema.

  • 10

    Jessica Beshir

    Faya dayi

    A better world is possible, even though it always seems to be out of reach—somewhere far into the future, always in a more distant time. A better world is possible now. That’s the certainty I’ve carried with me ever since I saw this cinematic marvel. This film reminds me of the power of community.