The Dark Knight, A Clockwork Orange, Lilies of the Field, The Joy Luck Club and films directed by Ida Lupino and Kathryn Bigelow — two of a record-breaking nine helmed by women — are among the latest cinematic jewels chosen for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, it was announced Monday.
The list of 25 motion pictures picked to be preserved for future generations also includes funny films The Battle of the Century (1927), a rarely seen Laurel & Hardy release, a 1914 Charlie Chaplin short and Shrek (2001); thrillers like the Suspense (1913) and The Man With the Golden Arm (1955); and the music-laden Cabin in the Sky (1943), Wattstax (1973), Grease (1978), The Blues Brothers (1980) and Buena Vista Social Club (1999).
Seven films directed by people of color made it, including Melvin Van Peeples’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971), Julie Dash’s Illusions (1982) and Kathleen Collins’ Losing Ground (1982). Lupino’s Outrage (1950) and Bigelow’s history-making The Hurt Locker (2008) highlight the selections helmed by women.
“The National Film Registry is an important record of American history, culture and creativity, captured through one of the great American art forms, our cinematic experience,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in a statement. “With the inclusion of diverse filmmakers, we are not trying to set records but rather to set the record straight by spotlighting the astonishing contributions women and people of color have made to American cinema despite facing often-overwhelming hurdles.”
Starting at 5 p.m. PST on Tuesday, TCM will screen a selection of the motion pictures named. Hayden will join TCM host and film historian Jacqueline Stewart to discuss the films.
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, the librarian each year names 25 motion pictures at least 10 years old to the Registry that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The librarian confers with members of the National Film Preservation Board and others before making the selections. Also considered this year were more than 5,500 titles nominated by the public; nominations for 2021 will be accepted here.