Bambi” named to Library of Congress film registry

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Bambi

Bambi

Walt Disney’s time­less car­toon clas­sic “Bambi” and 24 other films were selected Wednes­day by Librar­ian of Con­gress James H. Billing­ton to be pre­served as cul­tural, artis­tic and his­tor­i­cal trea­sures in the National Film Reg­istry of the Library of Congress.

Disney’s own per­sonal favorite, this ani­mated coming-of-age tale of a wide-eyed fawn’s life in the for­est has enchanted gen­er­a­tions since its debut nearly 70 years ago. Filled with iconic char­ac­ters and moments, the film fea­tures beau­ti­ful images that were the result of exten­sive nature stud­ies by Disney’s animators.

Its real­is­tic char­ac­ters cap­ture human and ani­mal qual­i­ties in the time-honored tra­di­tion of folk­lore and fable, which enhance the movie’s res­onat­ing, emo­tional power. Trea­sured as one of film’s most heart-rending sto­ries of parental love, Bambialso has come to be rec­og­nized for its elo­quent mes­sage of nature conservation.

Also named to the reg­istry is Ed Catmull’s Com­puter Ani­mated Hand (1972), which he made with Fred Parke.

Cat­mull, co-founder of Pixar Ani­ma­tion Stu­dios, renowned for its CGI ani­mated films, cre­ated a pro­gram for dig­i­tally ani­mat­ing a human hand in 1972 as a Uni­ver­sity of Utah grad­u­ate stu­dent project, one of the ear­li­est exam­ples of 3D com­puter ani­ma­tion. The one-minute film dis­plays the hand turn­ing, open­ing and clos­ing, point­ing at the viewer, and flex­ing its fin­gers, end­ing with a shot that seem­ingly trav­els up inside the hand. Cat­mull cre­ated a com­puter ren­der­ing of his own hand.

In cre­at­ing the film, which was incor­po­rated into the 1976 science-fiction thriller Future­world, Cat­mull worked out con­cepts that become the foun­da­tion for com­puter graph­ics that fol­lowed. Shown on a TV mon­i­tor in the movie, it was the first com­puter ani­ma­tion to be used in a Hol­ly­wood film.

Span­ning the period 1912–94, the films named to the reg­istry also include Hol­ly­wood clas­sics, doc­u­men­taries, home movies, avant-garde shorts and exper­i­men­tal motion pic­tures. Rep­re­sent­ing the rich cre­ative and cul­tural diver­sity of the Amer­i­can cin­e­matic expe­ri­ence, the selec­tions range from Billy Wilder’s The Lost Week­end, a land­mark film about the dev­as­tat­ing effects of alco­holism, to a real-life drama between a United States pres­i­dent and a gov­er­nor over the deseg­re­ga­tion of the Uni­ver­sity of Alabama.

The selec­tions also include home movies of the famous Nicholas Broth­ers danc­ing team and such avant-garde films as George Kuchar’s hilar­i­ous short I, an Actress. This year’s selec­tions bring the num­ber of films in the reg­istry to 575.

The full list of this year’s selections:

Allures (1961)
Bambi (1942)
The Big Heat (1953)
A Com­puter Ani­mated Hand (1972)
Cri­sis: Behind A Pres­i­den­tial Com­mit­ment (1963)
The Cry of the Chil­dren (1912)
A Cure for Pokeri­tis (1912)
El Mari­achi (1992)
Faces (1968)
Fake Fruit Fac­tory (1986)
For­rest Gump (1994)
Grow­ing Up Female (1971)
Hes­ter Street (1975)
I, an Actress (1977)
The Iron Horse (1924)
The Kid (1921)
The Lost Week­end (1945)
The Negro Sol­dier (1944)
Nicholas Broth­ers Fam­ily Home Movies (1930s-40s)
Norma Rae (1979)
Porgy and Bess (1959)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Stand and Deliver (1988)
Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury (1934)
War of the Worlds (1953)

Under the terms of the National Film Preser­va­tion Act, each year the Librar­ian of Con­gress names 25 films to the National Film Reg­istry that are “cul­tur­ally, his­tor­i­cally or aes­thet­i­cally” sig­nif­i­cant. “These films are selected because of their endur­ing sig­nif­i­cance to Amer­i­can cul­ture,” said Billing­ton. “Our film her­itage must be pro­tected because these cin­e­matic trea­sures doc­u­ment our his­tory and cul­ture and reflect our hopes and dreams.”

Annual selec­tions to the reg­istry are final­ized by the Librar­ian after review­ing hun­dreds of titles nom­i­nated by the pub­lic (this year, 2,228 films were nom­i­nated) and con­fer­ring with Library film cura­tors and the dis­tin­guished mem­bers of the National Film Preser­va­tion Board. The pub­lic is urged to make nom­i­na­tions for next year’s reg­istry at NFPB’s Web site (www.loc.gov/film).

In other news about the reg­istry, These Amaz­ing Shad­ows, a doc­u­men­tary about the National Film Reg­istry, will air nation­ally on the award-winning PBS series “Inde­pen­dent Lens” at 10 p.m. Thurs­day, Decem­ber 29. Writ­ten and directed by Paul Mar­i­ano and Kurt Nor­ton, this crit­i­cally acclaimed doc­u­men­tary has also been released on DVD and Blu-ray, and will be avail­able through the Library of Con­gress Shop (www.loc.gov/shop/).

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