“The Watermelon Woman” & “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” Among titles added to the National Film Registry

The Library of Congress has announced its annual selection of 25 titles to be recorded in the National Film Registry. “Selected for Their Cultural, Historical, or Aesthetic Significance in Preserving the Nation’s Film Heritage,” this year’s selection includes five films directed or co-directed by women: Eloyce Gist and James Gist’s “Hellbound Train” (1930); Sylvia Morales’ “Chicana” (1979); Deborah Shaffer and Stewart Birds’ “The Wobblies” (1979); Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Peñas “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” (1987); and Cheryl Dunyes “The Watermelon Woman (1996).

“Hellbound Train” comes from self-taught filmmakers and evangelists Eloyce and James Gist, and sees a train full of sinners heading for condemnation. Morales’ “Chicana” features a collage of works of art, still images and documentaries that highlight Chicana women and their struggle for rights and wages. “The Wobblies,” from Shaffer and Bird, is a documentary that focuses on the world’s industrial workers – AKA The Wobblies – and their mass-scale trade union efforts. Choy and Tajima-Peñas “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” is a documentary investigating the murder of a Chinese engineer living in Detroit by two white men. In addition to directing “The Watermelon Woman,” Dunye wrote and starred in the film about a young black lesbian video assistant and aspiring filmmaker.

The 2021 Committees represent one of the most diverse classes of films entering the registry, with films dating back nearly 120 years representing the work done by Hollywood studios, independent filmmakers, documentarians, female directors, color filmmakers, students and the dumb “movie era,” a press release from the Library of Congress details. The committees bring the number of films in the register up to 825, which represents part of the 1.7 million films in the library’s collections.

“Film helps reflect our cultural history and creativity – and shows us new ways of looking at ourselves – although films have not always been considered worthy of preservation. The National Film Registry will preserve our cinematic heritage and we are proud to add 25 more films this year, “said Congresswoman Carla Hayden.” The Library of Congress will work with our partners in the film community to ensure that these films are preserved for generations to come. “

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