The National Film Registry is a record of American film, highlighting ground-breaking cultural cinema, and it’s added a big batch of movies this week… just before they can be cancelled in a year over-run by cancel culture.
Fresh additions to the registry include Stanley Kubrick’s controversial thriller A Clockwork Orange, The Dark Knight, The Hurt Locker, and The Man With The Golden Arm, along with some ‘safer’ titles including Shrek, Grease, Lillies Of The Field, and 1913 silent film Suspense.
A place in the registry — which highlights 25 films per year — guarantees a film will be preserved under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, leaving these secure and intact.
Whether the act allows for films to be pulled or altered in line with our contemporary cancel culture, I’m not certain, but perhaps we’ll see some dramatic action on behalf of sensitive parties in the near future. I can almost imagine rich folk getting up in arms over the cruel way in which they are treated in Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Or maybe not.
Earlier this year, Gone With The Wind was pulled from various libraries due to its out-of-date representation of black characters. The film was selected for the National Film Registry in 1989 but appears unscathed after other libraries (including HBO’s film archive) opted to add explanatory text to the film’s introduction then file it back onto the shelf.
The criteria for selection into the National Film Registry is that the movies are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. They may as well add the words ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusivity’ in that criteria list since this week’s selection includes nine films directed by women and seven directed by filmmakers of colour.
There are now a total of 800 films in the registry.
See the full list of this week’s additions, below.
FILMS SELECTED FOR THE 2020 NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY (CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER):
1. Suspense (1913)
2. Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914)
3. Bread (1918)
4. The Battle of the Century(1927)
5. With Cara and Camera Around the World (1929)
6. Cabin in the Sky (1943)
7. Outrage (1950)
8. The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)
9. Lilies of the Field (1963)
10. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
11. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971)
12. Wattstax (1973)
13. Grease (1978)
14. The Blues Brothers (1980)
15. Losing Ground (1982)
16. Illusions (1982)
17. The Joy Luck Club (1993)
18. The Devil Never Sleeps (1994)
19. Buena Vista Social Club (1999)
20. The Ground (1993-2001)
21. Shrek (2001)
22. Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege (2006)
23. The Hurt Locker (2008)
24. The Dark Knight (2008)
25. Freedom Riders (2010)