Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Sidney Poitier’s ‘Blackboard Jungle’, ‘Paris is Burning’ Added to National Film Registry

Sidney Poitier in "Blackboard Jungle" (1955)
Sidney Poitier in “Blackboard Jungle” (1955)

*The Library of Congress has announced the addition of 25 new films to its National Film Registry – among them, Sidney Poitier’s breakout film “Blackboard Jungle” and the 1990 drag documentary “Paris is Burning.”

“Blackboard Jungle” followed teachers in an interracial inner-city school. Poitier played the supporting role of a rebellious, yet musically talented student.

Some critics call the documentary “Paris is Burning” an important documentary chronicling the end of the “Golden Age” of New York City drag balls, and a thoughtful exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America. The film explored African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in the culture.

Also nestled among the 25 additions is a collection of films from Solomon Sir Jones, a Baptist minister and amateur filmmaker who recorded life in the African American communities of Oklahoma from 1924 to 1928, a few years after the Tulsa Race Riots. The short black and white films document a “rich tapestry of everyday life” — the Library of Congress announced — depicting everything from funerals and sports events to river baptisms and Juneteenth celebrations.

View below, courtesy of the National Museum of African American History and Culture:

Congress established the registry in 1988 with the National Film Preservation Act of 1988 — requiring the Library of Congress to designate and preserve films that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. Films must be at least 10 years old to be chosen.

“Motion pictures document our history and culture and serve as a mirror of our collective experiences,” Hayden said, in announcing the new film entrees. “The National Film Registry embraces the richness and diversity of film as an art form and celebrates the people who create the magic of cinema.”

Below, a listing of all 25 films joining the registry this year:

1. Atomic Cafe (1982)

2. Ball of Fire (1941)

3. The Beau Brummels (1928)

4. The Birds (1963)

5. Blackboard Jungle (1955)

6. The Breakfast Club (1985)

7. The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)

8. East of Eden (1955)

9. Funny Girl (1968)

10. The Lion King (1994)

11. Lost Horizon (1937)

12. Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912)

13. Paris Is Burning (1990)

14. Point Blank (1967)

15. The Princess Bride (1987)

16. Putney Swope (1969)

17. Rushmore (1998)

18. Solomon Sir Jones films (1924-28)

19. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)

20. Suzanne, Suzanne (1982)

21. Thelma & Louise (1991)

22. Time and Dreams (1976)

23. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)

24. A Walk in the Sun (1945)

25. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

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