Library of Congress Adds Patricia Cardoso’s “Real Women Have Curves” to National Film Registry

One of Patricia Cardoso’s most iconic films is being celebrated in a special way… 

The Library of Congress has unveiled its annual selection of 25 films added to the National Film Registry, with the Colombian filmmaker’s Humanitas Prize-winning film Real Women Have Curves—a landmark of Latinx cinema—among the chosen.

Patricia Cardoso

Real Women Have Curves is one of an unprecedented seven titles directed by women, the most in a single year since the inaugural registry in 1989. 

Real Women Have Curves

The comedy-drama—released in 2002—starred America FerreraLupe Ontiveros and George Lopez. It’s the story of a first generation Mexican-American girl (Ferrera) and her passage to womanhood. Although she wants to go away to college, she must battle against the views of her parents, who think she should stay at home and provide for the family. As a compromise, she works with her mother (Ontiveros) in a sewing factory over the summer and learns some important lessons about life, helping her make a decision about her future.

It’s based on the play of the same name by Josefina López, who co-authored the screenplay for the film with George LaVoo. The film gained fame after winning the Audience Award for best dramatic film, and the Special Jury Prizefor acting at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. According to the Sundance Institute, the film gives a voice to young women who are struggling to love themselves and find respect in the United States.

But it’s not the only LatinX film selected this year…

Zoot Suit, directed by Luis Valdez, made the list. 

Starring Daniel Valdez and Edward James Olmos, Zoot Suitis the1981 film adaptation of the Broadway play of the same name. It weaves a story involving the real-life events of the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial — when a group of young Mexican-Americans were charged with murder — resulting in the racially fueled Zoot Suit Riotsthroughout Los Angeles.

The film was nominated for the 1982 Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Meanwhile, some of the selected films feature Hispanic artists…

Purple Rainstars Mexican American actress/singer Apollonia Kotero; and Platoonstars part-Spanish American actor Charlie Sheen,  

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the annual selections, which were chosen based on cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage and guarantees the film will be preserved under the National Film Preservation Act. The films must be at least 10 years old.

“The National Film Registry has become an important record of American history, culture and creativity,” said Hayden. “Unlike many other honors, the registry is not restricted to a time, place or genre. It encompasses 130 years of the full American cinematic experience — a virtual Olympiad of motion pictures. With the support of Congress, the studios and other archives, we are ensuring that the nation’s cinematic history will be around for generations to come.” 

The 2019 selection brings the number of films in the registry to 775 and spans a century of filmmaking, from 1903 to 2003. 

Jacqueline Stewart, chair of the National Film Preservation Board’s task force on diversity, equity and inclusion, commented, “With this year’s National Film Registry selections, Dr, Hayden recognizes the importance of amplifying cinematic voices and stories that have been marginalized for far too long. I look forward to continuing research and dialogue with the Librarian, board members, film communities and the American public to ensure that the registry reflects the full spectrum of our society.”

Here’s the full list of this year’s selections:

Amadeus (1984)
Becky Sharp (1935)      
Before Stonewall (1984)
BodyAnd Soul (1925)
Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Clerks (1994)
Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
Emigrants Landing At Ellis Island (1903)
Employees Entrance (1933)    
Fog Of War (2003)         
Gaslight (1944)  
George Washington Carver At Tuskegee Institute (1937)
Girlfriends (1978)
I Am Somebody (1970)
The Last Waltz (1978)
My Name Is Oona (1969)
A New Leaf (1971)        
Old Yeller (1957)
The Phenix City Story (1955)
Platoon (1986)   
Purple Rain (1984)        
Real Women Have Curves (2002)
She’s Gotta Have It (1986)      
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Zoot Suit (1981)

Miranda’s “Down Argentine Way” and “The Gang’s All Here” Added to the National Film Registry

Carmen Miranda is a national (registry) treasure…

The late half-Brazilian actress, singer and dancer’s work will now be preserved for all time.

Carmen Miranda

The Library of Congress has added 25 films to the National Film Registry, including two of Miranda’s most memorable projects.

The annual selection helps to ensure that the movies will be preserved for all time. This year’s list brings the number of films in the registry to 650.

Down Argentine Way (1940), which established Betty Grable’s as the pinup queen, features the actress’ character traveling to South America and falling in love with Don Ameche.

Miranda, who was popular from the 1930s to the 1950s, made her Hollywood debut in the film, and her exotic clothing and Latin accent became her trademark.

The Gang’s All Here (1943), featured showgirl Alice Faye being romanced by a soldier who uses an assumed name and then turns out to be a rich playboy.

Miranda, nicknamed the “Brazilian Bombshell” is noted for her outrageous costume and signature fruit hat, which was highlighted in the legendary musical number “The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat.”

But Miranda isn’t the only one being immortalized in the National Film Registry…

Efraín Gutiérrez’s Please Don’t Bury Me Alive! (1976)
has also made the cut.

He wrote, directed and starred in the independent film, which is set in the San Antonio barrio in the early 1970s and tells the story of a young Chicano man questioning his and his people’s place in society as thousands of his Latino brethren return from the war in coffins during the turbulent days near the end of the Vietnam War.

Meantime, Felicia (1965), a 13-minute short subject, marketed as an educational film, has been included in the National Film Registry this year.

It centers on an unassuming-yet-articulate teenager Felicia Bragg, a high-school student of African-American and Hispanic descent. Felicia’s first-person narrative reflects her hopes and frustrations as she annotates footage of her family, school and neighborhood, creating a time capsule that’s both historically and culturally significant.

Here’s a look at the films featuring Latino talent that made the final cut:

2014 National Film Registry

Down Argentine Way (1940)
  Betty Grable’s first starring role in a Technicolor musical happened only because Alice Faye had an attack of appendicitis, but Grable took advantage of the situation and quickly made herself as important to 20th Century-Fox as Faye. Released just over a year before America entered World War II, this film and others starring Grable established her as the pinup queen. The title explains much, with Grable traveling to South America and falling in love with Don Ameche. Carmen Miranda makes her American film debut, and the Nicolas Brothers’ unparalleled dance routines dazzle.

The Gang’s All Here (1943)
 Although not remembered as well today as those put out by MGM, 20th Century-Fox’s big Technicolor musicals stand up well in comparison. Showgirl Alice Faye, Fox’s No. 1 musical star, is romanced by a soldier who uses an assumed name and then turns out to be a rich playboy. Carmen Miranda is also featured and her outrageous costume is highlighted in the legendary musical number “The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat.” Busby Berkeley, who had just finished a long stint directing musicals at MGM and an earlier one at Warner Bros., directs and choreographs the film.

Please Don’t Bury Me Alive! (1976)
 The San Antonio barrio in the early 1970s is the setting for writer, director and star Efraín Gutiérrez’s independent piece, considered by historians to be the first Chicano feature film. A self-taught filmmaker, Gutiérrez not only created the film from top to bottom on a shoestring, he also acted as its initial distributor and chief promoter, negotiating bookings throughout the Southwest where it filled theaters in Chicano neighborhoods. He tells his story in the turbulent days near the end of the Vietnam War, as a young Chicano man questioning his and his people’s place in society as thousands of his Latino brethren return from the war in coffins. Chon Noriega, director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, wrote, “The film is important as an instance of regional filmmaking, as a bicultural and bilingual narrative, and as a precedent that expanded the way that films got made. …” Cultural historians often compare Gutiérrez to Oscar Micheaux, the pioneering African-American filmmaker who came to prominence in the 1920s.

Felicia (1965)
This 13-minute short subject, marketed as an educational film, records a slice of life in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles prior to the rebellions of 1965. Filmmakers Trevor Greenwood, Robert Dickson and Alan Gorg were UCLA film students when they crafted a documentary from the perspective of the unassuming-yet-articulate teenager Felicia Bragg, a high-school student of African-American and Hispanic descent. Felicia’s first-person narrative reflects her hopes and frustrations as she annotates footage of her family, school and neighborhood, creating a time capsule that’s both historically and culturally significant. Its provenance as an educational film continues today as university courses use “Felicia” to teach documentary filmmaking techniques and cite it as an example of how non-traditional sources, as well as mainstream television news, reflect and influence public opinion.

Rodriguez to Host Democratic National Committee Fundraiser with President Barack Obama

Robert Rodriguez is preparing for a presidential experience…

The award-winning Mexican-American filmmaker will host President Barack Obama at his home in Austin, Texas, on July 17 to raise money for the Democratic National Committee‘s midterm election efforts, according to The Hollywood Reporter .

Robert Rodriguez

Rodriguez, whose cult classic El Mariachi was selected in 2011 for preservation in the National Film Registry, is the latest in a growing number of Hollywood Latinos throwing their money and influence behind the Democratic Party.

Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Demi Lovato and Danny Trejo are among those who’ve signed on to support the event. Tickets for the Austin fundraiser range from $5,000 to $32,400.

Obama and Rodriguez – the founder of the El Rey Network – first met in 2012, when the filmmaker traveled to Washington to speak with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute about the importance of diversifying the distribution networks.

While there, Obama invited Rodriguez to participate in a roundtable discussion about the importance of Hispanics in the U.S.

Since then, Rodriguez has emerged as a strong advocate of Latino issues in the country

Following his film debut with El Mariachi, Rodriguez has helped launch the film careers of several prominent Latino actors and actresses, including Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek andAlba. His insistence on casting a Latino family for the popular Spy Kids series built the first major theatrical family franchise featuring Latinos in heroic roles.

Rodriguez’s “El Mariachi” to Be Made Into a Spanish-Language Series

Robert Rodriguez’s debut film is getting a brand new life…

Sony Pictures Television has announced plans to produce 70 episodes of El Mariachi, an original series based on the 45-year-old Mexican American director’s 1992 cult film of the same name.

El Mariachi

In 2011, El Mariachi was selected as an addition to the National Film Registry of films for preservation by the Library of Congress for it’s “enduring significance to American Culture.”

The Spanish-language drama marks the first time Sony and its Colombian partner Teleset will produce a series entirely in Mexico.

Soy tu Fan star Ivan Arana takes on the role of the lovestruck, revenge-seeking mariachi who wages war against fearsome drug cartels.

El Mariachi also features Mexican actors Martha Higareda and Julio Bracho.

“Staying true to the story, we are producing the series in Mexico, shooting in magnificent locations and utilizing some of the country’s best talent,” said Angelica Guerra, Sony senior vice president of production in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market.

The series will air on Sony Entertainment Television in Latin America and on a yet-to-be-announced U.S. network.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez’s latest film, Machete Kills, will have its world premiere on September 19 at the Fantastic Fest in Austin.

“El Mariachi” & “Stand and Deliver” Added to National Film Registry’s Preservation List

Robert Rodriguez and Ramón Menéndez have cemented their status as Latino luminaries in American film history.

The Mexican-American Rodriguez’s El Mariachi and the Cuban-born Menéndez’s Stand and Deliver have been selected as this year’s additions to the National Film Registry of films for preservation by the Library of Congress for “their enduring significance to American Culture.”

El Mariachi Poster

El Mariachi (1992): Directed, edited, co-produced and written in a short two weeks by then-film student Rodriguez for only $7,000, El Mariachi became an insta-hit on the film festival circuit. After being picked up for distribution, the film helped usher in the independent movie boom of the early 1990s. El Mariachi is an energetic, highly entertaining tale of an itinerant musician who arrives at a Mexican border town during a drug war and is mistaken for a hit man who recently escaped from prison. The story, as film historian Charles Ramirez Berg has suggested, plays with expectations common to two popular exploitation genres—the narcotraficante film, a Mexican police genre, and the transnational warrior-action film, itself rooted in Hollywood Westerns. Rodriguez’s success derived from invigorating these genres with creative variants despite the constraints of a shoestring budget. Rodriguez has gone on to become, in Berg’s estimation, “arguably the most successful Latino director ever to work in Hollywood.”

Stand and Deliver Poster

Stand and Deliver (1988): Based on a true story, Stand and Deliver stars Edward James Olmos in an Oscar-nominated performance as crusading educator Jaime Escalante. A math teacher in East Los Angeles, Escalante inspired his underprivileged students to undertake an intensive program in calculus, achieve high test scores and improve their sense of self-worth. Co-produced by Olmos and directed by Menéndez, Stand and Deliver became one of the most popular of a new wave of narrative feature films produced in the 1980s by Latino filmmakers. The film celebrates in a direct, approachable, and impactful way, values of self-betterment through hard work and power through knowledge. Menéndez’s first feature film won six IFP Spirit Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

In all, 25 movies were selected from a lost of more than 2,200 titles nominated this year, including Fake Fruit Factory (1986), a documentary that takes an expressive, sympathetic look at the everyday lives of young Mexican women who create ornamental paper maché fruits and vegetables.