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National Film Registry Class of ’11 includes “Silence of the Lambs” and “El Mariachi”


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Every year the Library of Congress selects 25 films of “enduring significance to American culture” for preservation as part of the National Film Registry. 550 films have joined the Registry since it was first started by congressional order in 1989, and yesterday 25 new titles were added to their prestigious ranks. They are, in alphabetical order:

“Allures” (1961), directed by Jordan Belson
“Bambi” (1942), directed by David D. Hand
“The Big Heat” (1953), directed by Fritz Lang
“A Computer Animated Hand” (1973), directed by Ed Catmull
“Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment” (1963), directed by Robert Drew
“The Cry of the Children” (1912), directed by George Nichols
“A Cure for Pokeritis” (1912), directed by Laurence Trimble
“El Mariachi” (1992), directed by Robert Rodriguez
“Faces” (1968), directed by John Cassavetes
“Fake Fruit Factory” (1986), directed by Chick Strand
“Forrest Gump” (1994), directed by Robert Zemeckis
“Growing Up Female” (1971), directed by Julia Reichert and Jim Klein
“Hester Street” (1975), directed by Joan Micklin Silver
“I, An Actress” (1977), directed by George Kuchar
“The Iron Horse” (1924), directed by John Ford
“The Kid” (1921), directed by Charles Chaplin
“The Lost Weekend” (1945), directed by Billy Wilder
“The Negro Soldier” (1944), directed by Stuart Heisler
“Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies” (1930s-40s)
“Norma Rae” (1979), directed by Martin Ritt
“Porgy and Bess” (1959), directed by Otto Preminger
“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), directed by Jonathan Demme
“Stand and Deliver” (1988), directed by Ramon Menendez
“Twentieth Century” (1934), directed by Howard Hawks
“The War of the Worlds” (1953), directed by Byron Haskin

As is usually the case, the Registry selected an eclectic mix of films this year: mainstream and avant-garde, silent and sound, a century old and relatively contemporary. The earliest films, a pair of silents called “The Cry of the Children” and “A Case of Pokeritis,” were made one hundred years ago. The most recent is 1994’s “Forrest Gump.” Now we can all rest easy knowing that future generations of Americans will be able to learn about life through the metaphor of a chocolate box.

You might even say that the National Film Registry is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. According to an article in The Washington Post, the selections are made by just one man: Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, who makes his choices based on the recommendations of an advisory board and regular movie fans (got a movie you want on the Registry? Submit it here). Artistic merit is good but cultural merit is better. Hence “Airplane!,” which helped inspire an entire genre of spoof comedies, made the cut last year while “The Naked Gun,” an even funnier but less influential film from the same directors, remains cruelly overlooked. Some day, Enrico Palazzo, your time will come.

According to the Post, films selected by the Registry “are preserved at the Library of Congress’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, or through collaborations with archives, studios and independent filmmakers” and “most of the films named to the National Registry can be viewed by reservation at the Library of Congress’s reading room on Capitol Hill.” So if you live in the DC area, and you don’t feel like paying $3 to rent “Night of the Living Dead,” you can always try there.

Also: am I crazy, or is Librarian of Congress kind of the sickest job title on the planet? “What do you do?” “Oh, I’m a Librarian…OF CONGRESS.”

What movies deserve to be preserved by the National Film Registry next year? Tell us in the comments below or write to us on Facebook Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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