Each year, the Library of Congress adds 25 films to the National Film Registry in order to preserve remarkable entries in the cinematic canon for future generations. This year, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and the ecstasy of Dreamworks’ Shrek are among the additions.
“This is not only a great honor for all of us who worked on The Dark Knight, this is also a tribute to all of the amazing artists and writers who have worked on the great mythology of Batman over the decades,” Nolan said in a statement.
No creator formally commented on Shrek’s achievement, but as the National Film Registry announcement notes, “Even by DreamWorks standards, the charm and magic of Shrek seemed extraordinary upon its initial release almost 20 years ago — and its power has yet to diminish in the intervening years.”
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant, and at least 10 years old. The current Librarian of Congress — and in the case of the 2020, that’s Carla Hayden — makes the annual selections after conferring with members of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB) and a “cadre of Library specialists.” The public also nominates their own essential films; in 2020, the organization received more than 5,500 submissions.
The year’s other inductees emphasize the National Film Registry’s mission to preserve films that showcase moments and time and milestones in the medium’s history. As the Library of Congress notes, the selections “include a record number of films directed by women and filmmakers of color, including nine directed by women and seven by people of color.”
“With the inclusion of diverse filmmakers, we are not trying to set records but rather to set the record straight by spotlighting the astonishing contributions women and people of color have made to American cinema, despite facing often-overwhelming hurdles,” Hayden said in a statement.
Additional films include Lilies of the Field, which made Sidney Poitier the first Black actor to win the Oscar for Best Actor; Wayne Wang’s generational Asian-American story The Joy Luck Club; the silent film Suspense, which was co-directed by a woman in 1913; as well as The Hurt Locker, which earned Kathryn Bigelow a directing Oscar, making her the first woman to earn the award.
Here’s the full list of the 2020 National Film Registry additions. Explanations for the significance of the entries can be found on the Library of Congress website.