Today, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the annual selection of 25 films into the Library of Congress National Film Registry. Films are selected based on their cultural, historic and/or aesthetic importance, and must be at least 10 years old. This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 850, and many are among the 1.7 million films in the Library’s collections.
The 2022 National Film Registry showcases a diverse collection of films dating back nearly 124 years with the 1898 film of the “Mardi Gras Carnival” parade in New Orleans. The film was long thought to be lost but recently discovered at the Eye Filmmuseum in the Netherlands. The most recent film now added to the registry is 2011’s “Pariah,” directed by Dee Rees.
Hollywood releases selected this year include Marvel’s “Iron Man,” Disney’s beloved “The Little Mermaid,” John Waters’ “Hairspray,” the unforgettable romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally,” Brian De Palma’s adaptation of “Carrie,” Reginald Hudlin’s “House Party,” and the 1950 film version of “Cyrano de Bergerac,” which made José Ferrer the first Hispanic actor to win an Oscar for Best Actor.
A wide-range of subjects and filmmakers also top the list including “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez,” a seminal work in the Chicano film movement, “Itam Hakim, Hopiit” focused on the history and customs of the Hopi Native American tribes, “Titicut Follies,” Frederick Wiseman’s landmark documentary filmed inside a Massachusetts facility for the criminally insane, “Scorpio Rising,” and “Union Maids” from Julia Reichert. Ms. Reichert, who passed away on December 1st, was informed in November of her film’s inclusion in this year’s Registry.
“Films have become absolutely central to American culture by helping tell our national story for more than 125 years. We are proud to add 25 more films by a group of vibrant and diverse filmmakers to the National Film Registry as we preserve our cinematic heritage,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “We’re grateful to the entire film community for collaborating with the Library of Congress to ensure these films are preserved for the future.
Films Selected for the 2022 National Film Registry, in chronological order:
Mardi Gras Carnival (1898)
Cab Calloway Home Movies (1948-1951)
Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
Scorpio Rising (1963)
Behind Every Good Man (1967)
Titicut Follies (1967)
Betty Tells Her Story (1972)
Super Fly (1972)
Union Maids (1976)
Word is Out: Stories of Our Lives (1977)
Bush Mama (1979)
The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982)
Itam Hakim, Hopiit (1984)
The Little Mermaid (1989)
Tongues Untied (1989)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
House Party (1990)
Iron Man (2008)
The Librarian’s selections include recommendations from the National Film Preservation Board and nominations from the public. This year over 6,800 films were suggested for consideration. To nominate for the 2023 Registry visit www.loc.gov/film.
You can read more about the films selected in the official announcement, and the Library of Congress will be sharing visuals and details on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook throughout the day @librarycongress and #natfilmregistry.
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will screen films from the 2022 National Film Registry on Tuesday, December 27, starting at 8 p.m.(ET). Dr. Hayden will join TCM host and National Film Preservation Board chair Jacqueline Stewart to discuss the films.
Select titles from 30 years of the National Film Registry are freely available online in the Library of Congress National Screening Room.
FINALLY! I GET A LIST!
Let’s do the math. Twenty-five films, both shorts and features, are considered each year. The pool of these are spread across the ten decades of the 20th century. This means that on average two films from each decade could be named each year. Let’s say we reserve these for feature-length films. This would leave five films that could be dedicated to short works from any decade.
Twenty-three of this year’s honorees are feature films but include no representation from the first six decades, 1900 to 1960, with the exception of one from 1950. This suggests that the intention is to name films that the average person would recognize and perhaps have already seen. That approach is unfortunate.
Each decade of American films continues to have dozens of worthy titles yet to be recognized on the NFR. The LOC list of “Films Yet to be Named to the NFR” is proof of this. In recent years a number of important “lost” silent films have found so nobody can say that LOC is running out of significant films from past generations to recognize. Sadly, this year’s selections represent a dumbing down of the process.
So grateful to the Library of Congress for accepting Marlon Riggs’s landmark experimental documentary into the National Film Registry. This marks a historic moment of recognition of the work’s profound impact — for its intended audience and far beyond.
I agree with Bob Fells. These are all deserving titles, but the half-century gap is quite astonishing. It gives the impression we’ve “run out” of stuff from then. Diversity of voices and stories need not come at the expense of diversity of time. There are still plenty of early 20th century films by women, queer people, and people of colour, or at least culturally significant to these groups. I can give you a worthy twenty-five of them alone.
A Pictoral Story of Hiawatha (Katherine & Charles Bowden) 1904
Falling Leaves (Alice Guy-Blache) 1912
The Railroad Porter (William Foster) c. 1912-13
Daisy Doodad’s Dial (Florence Turner) 1914
Salomy Jane (William Nich & Lucius Henderson) 1914
Hypocrites (Lois Weber) 1915
When Little Lindy Sang (Lule Warrenton) 1916
Sissle and Blake (Lee DeForest) 1923
The Red Kimono (Dorothy Davenport & Walter Lang) 1925
Fly Low Jack, and the Game (Marion Gleason) 1927
The Scar of Shame (Frank Perugini) 1927
Fieldwork Footage (Zora Neale Hurston) 1927-29
Ramona (Edwin Carewe) 1928
Eleven P.M. (Richard Maurice) c. 1928-30
Merrily We Go to Hell (Dorothy Arzner) 1932
Romance Tropical (Juan Emilio Viguie Cajas) 1934
El Dia Que Me Quieras/The Day You Love Me (John Reinhardt) 1935
Frida Kahlo home film at the Blue House (Nickolas Muray) c. 1939
Introspection (Sara Kathryn Arledge) 1941-46
Mother’s Day (James Broughton) 1948
Apache Drums (Hugo Fregonese) 1951
Los Peloteros/The Ballplayers (Jack Delano) 1951
The Bigamist (Ida Lupino) 1953
El Puente/The Bridge (Amilcar Tirado) 1954
Cowboy and “Indian” Film (Raphael Montanez Ortiz) 1958
I consider the lack of silent feature films a slap in the face to those of us who work to preserve/restore/score/ release (and all the other areas of work) American silent films.
More than 6,800 films were suggested and this is the list the board of industry insiders came up with? Pathetic.
Funny how the rush to be inclusive and to diversify only ended up being exclusive of any films from the 1920s, 1930s, or the 1940s. Ironic, no?
Honestly, I’m more disappointed that my favorite animated feature film (which is from the Golden Age and was the first animated feature film in Cinemascope) is still not on the list yet. I do hope next year, they do a better job adding stuff from the Golden Age next year.
I think using terms like “dumbing down” and “pathetic,” and the overall implication that films from the early-to-mid 20th century are more worthy than later releases won’t make people receptive to your points. Yes, 6,800 nominations are a lot. But only 25 films get picked every year. Multiple Americans across multiple demographics and generations put in their nominations. That’s democracy. You won’t be able to please everyone with the selections but I still don’t care for the people behind this enterprise getting insulted like it’s nothing.
I emphasize with the concerns over our silent film heritage. I also wish that this list had a bit more silents on it (I personally would’ve swapped out “Cyrano de Bergerac ” for one). But we also have to remember that silent film isn’t the only ephemeral form of media out there. Two of this years selections are video. And releases in the 21st century tend to be in digital-born formats, complicated by streaming-only releases. I just feel like there’s a bigger picture here that’s obscured by only focusing on one set period of American film history. It’s all important.
I do appreciate Maya’s comment. Films I haven’t heard of and plan to check out/choose for my 2023 nominations.
Glad Iron Man is finally on the list. Might be a hot take but I believe the entire MCU should be in the registry. Aside from Iron Man there are 5 other MCU movies eligible, but this is a great start. It’s not part of the MCU but Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man needs to be here, I hope it makes it next year.
How does one turn off the closed captions on the video? I’m very glad they’re there for those who need them but they are quite distracting for me and make it hard to actually focus on the video content when my eyes are constantly being drawn down to the text.