Wednesday, December 21, 2016


The United States Library of Congress holds two records to its name: oldest federal institution of the US and biggest library in the world. Thanks to generous donations and acquisitions from benefactors, then through the right of transference of copyrighted works (which required all US-printed publications to submit at least two copies to the Library), its collection is massive and varied in source from all corners of the world in 450 languages and dialects. With the passing of time and advancement of technology the Library’s purview of preserving books and printed material expanded to film. Its National Film Preservation Board, established 1988, has the wondrously rewarding task of preserving the best samples of America’s film heritage by selecting singular motion pictures that would have the honor of being designated as national treasures and listed in the National Film Registry. 

TIME reports that on Wednesday December 14, the NFPB has approved a total of 25 American films to be added to the 675 movies already included in the NFR since its 1988 inception; this new batch thus brings the total of films so honored to an even 700. All movies selected, as their predecessors, are at least 10 years old and, after vetting by the NFPB, determined to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”, and therefore accorded the status of National Treasure. The 25 movies were chosen from a pool of nominations part from the public and part from recommendations made by the Librarian of Congress, currently Carla Hayden.

Of the lucky films, the oldest was made way back in 1903, a silent film by cinematography pioneer Edwin S. Porter called “Life of an American Fireman”, with the latest being the 1998 comedy “Rushmore” starring Bill Murray. But it’s the titles that were released during the years in between that capture immediate attention from the layman movie buff.

Among the other films selected for preservation in the NFR include the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “The Birds” (1963), the meme-rich adventure “The Princess Bride” (1987) starring Cary Elwes and Robin Wright, the feminist-favored “Thelma & Louise” (1991) starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, 1985’s “The Breakfast Club” starring Emilio Estevez, the mixed live-action/animation comedy “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” from 1988, and the 1994 Disney Animated Canon installment, “The Lion King”.

A statement by Librarian Haydn said of the new NFR inductees, "Motion pictures document our history and culture and serve as a mirror of our collective experience. The National Film Registry embraces the richness and diversity of film as an art form and celebrates the people who create the magic of cinema."

Speaking of “The Lion King”, there’s also been something of a buzz in the film industry lately that Jon Favreau, who had directed Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Jungle Book” this year, has been tapped to helm another live-action conversion, this time of “The Lion King”.

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