National Film Registry Welcomes 'El Mariachi'
Rodriguez's debut joins Bambi, Hannibal Lecter, and Forrest Gump
By Marjorie Baumgarten,
9:20AM, Wed. Dec. 28, 2011
It sounds like one of those odd-couple jokes that begins with "a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar." In this case, it's Robert Rodriguez's breakthrough film El Mariachi, released in 1993. It's been named by the Library of Congress as one of this year's 25 films selected to join the National Film Registry.
El Mariachi joins Bambi, The Silence of the Lambs, and Forrest Gump in the Library's always eclectic mix of titles to join the registry, which already boasts 525 titles. The registry was established in 1989 by the National Film Preservation Act to ensure the survival of works considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."
Other titles chosen this year include Sally Fields' Oscar turn as Norma Rae, Charlie Chaplin's first film The Kid, George Pal's 1953 production of The War of the Worlds, Otto Preminger's Porgy and Bess with Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge, Fritz Lang's classic film noir The Big Heat, Billy Wilder's Oscar winner The Lost Weekend, John Cassavetes' Faces, Howard Hawks' Twentieth Century, and the George Kuchar short "I, An Actress." This year's 25 titles were chosen based on their “enduring significance to American culture,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. Here in Austin we've always known that this first guerrilla feature by Robert Rodriguez and his producer Elizabeth Avellán was "culturally significant" and worthy of preservation. Congratulations to them on this official recognition.