Library of Congress Adds ‘El Mariachi,’ ‘Forrest Gump’ and Hannibal Lecter

Robert Rodriguez's first film will be preserved for historical posterity, right alongside The Silence of the Lambs.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

Every year, The National Film Registry picks out a group of movies to preserve at the Library of Congress for all time. This has been going on for decades now, with 575 films already selected for preservation, including Citizen Kane, Goodfellas, Psycho, The Sound of Music and Young Frankenstein. The 2011 selections were announced over the holiday break – grumble, grumble – and we're pleased as punch to see that (most of) the films included are truly excellent, and in some cases legitimately kick-ass productions. Case in point: El Mariachi, the 1992 micro-budget action movie debut of Sin City director Robert Rodriguez.

Although dwarfed in popuarity by his later films, the original action classic remains a powerful and subversive piece of filmmaking that deserves inclusion right alongside the other nominees, which are as follows: Allures (1961), Bambi (1942), The Big Heat (1953), A Computer Animated Hand (1972), Crisis: Behind a Presidental Commitment (1963), The Cry of the Children (1912), A Cure for Pokeritis (1912), Faces (1968), Fake Fruit Factory (1986), Forrest Gump (1994), Growing Up Female (1971), Hester Street (1975), I, An Actress (1977), The Iron Horse (1924), The Kid (1921), The Lost Weekend (1945), The Negro Soldier (1944), Nicholas Brothers' Home Movies (1930s-1940s), Norma Rae (1979), Porgy and Bess (1959), Silence of the Lambs (1991), Stand and Deliver (1988), The Twentieth Century (1934), and The War of the Worlds (1953).

The preservation list is limited to 25 films every year, which strikes us as pretty arbitrary considering that they have a lot of catching up to do. They've been at this since 1988 and they're only just getting to Charlie Chaplin's The Kid? Not to mention Bambi? I don't think anyone would complain if we upped that number to 50, if only to get on track. The films preserved can be narrative features, documenatires, short and experimental films, which explains many of the films you probably haven't heard of. The only major requirement is that they have to be at least ten years old to warrant consideration. Right now the most recent films included in the National Film Registry are Fargo and the experimental short Study of a River, both from 1996.

The only inclusion this year that pisses us off is Forrest Gump, which we maintain is highly overrated. We're in the minority on that one though, so c'est la vie.