"Stand and Deliver," the 1988 film starring Edward James Olmos in an Oscar-nominated role as East Los Angeles math teacher, and Robert Rodriguez's "El Mariachi" from 1992 were the latest Latino films added to the Library of Congress's National Film Registry.
That brings to 12 the number of films about Latinos, by Latinos or set in Spanish-speaking countries to be named to the vast depository dedicated to works that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant in the estimation of the Librarian of Congress.
With the 25 films announced this week, most notably "Forrest Gump," the Oscar-winning 1994 film starring Tom Hanks, the total number of National Registry Films is 575.
Can you name one other Latino-related movie on the list of films the nation's oldest federal cultural institution considers "cultural, artistic and historical treasures"?
Chulas Fronteras (1976), El Norte (1983), I am Joaquin (1969), Modesta (1956), The Revenge of Pancho Villa (1930-1936), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Verbena Tragica (1939), Salt of the Earth (1954), Touch of Evil (1958) and West Side Story (1961).
Librarian of Congress James Billington personally selects the films every year. Recommendations are made by the library’s National Film Preservation Board and the general public. You can nominate films here.
The registry was created in 1989 by Congress, which commissioned the librarian to choose 25 films annually. The films named to the registry are preserved at the Library of Congress's Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation outside Washington, D.C.
"These films are selected because of their enduring significance to American culture," Billington said in a statement. "Our film heritage must be protected because these cinematic treasures document our history and culture and reflect our hopes and dreams."
Based on a true story, "Stand and Deliver" featured Olmos as Jaime Escalante, an East Los Angeles math teacher who inspired his underprivileged students to excel in calculus. It was co-produced by Olmos and directed by Cuban-born Ramon Menendez, and, according to the registry, "became one of the most popular of a new wave of narrative feature films produced in the 1980s by Latino filmmakers."
"El Mariachi" is the story of a roving musician who arrives at a Mexican border town and, amid a drug war, is mistaken for a hit man. It was directed, edited, co-produced, and written by Rodriguez in two weeks while studying film at the University of Texas. It's budget: $7,000.
What films would you nominate?
El Super (1979), Crossover Dreams (1985), The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982), Milagro Beanfield War (1988), American Me (1992)?