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‘The Joy Luck Club’, ‘Grease’ and ‘Shrek’ Inducted into National Film Registry

Three lead actresses in The Joy Luck Club for 25th anniversary of film
Getty Images

The 2020 selections for the National Film Registry are in — and 25 new titles have been inducted including the musical Grease, the animation Shrek and arguably the most notable select, The Joy Luck Club.

It’s a surprise The Joy Luck Club wasn’t already inducted, after all the 25th anniversary of the rare film that provides Chinese representations through characters and stories was celebrated back in 2018. You’d think the National Film Registry would have for sure added it earlier in its 27 years of its existence — especially since it’s an archive of motion pictures selected for “cultural, historic or aesthetic” value and importance to the nation. It’s meant to showcase films that promote understanding of cinema that represent cultural moments of the now (read: provide pop culture context that mirror social happenings in our world in film form).

Related: Why the bamboo ceiling is a real thing and how it hurts all BIPOC folx.

On Dec. 14, the Librarian of Congress announced the latest round of 25 films that were picked for preservation for its 32nd year. In case you didn’t know, each film that gets selected must be at least 10 years old to be part of the registry, that has a total count of 800 motion pictures.

Following recent social movements that took place in 2020, this time around, the National Film Registry made an effort to include films directed by womxn (there were nine) and by people of colour (there were seven). Though tempting to offer some form of congratulations to the fair selects this year, we won’t be patting anyone on the back for doing the bare minimum of recognizing the work of groups too often overlooked.

It’s also surprising The Joy Luck Club didn’t score an induction after the commercial success of Crazy Rich Asians (2018) — after all, it’d been 25 years since Hollywood even entertained the notion of Chinese representation. In fact, back in 2018, there were high hopes for better, more positive Asian representation in film as that year featured the highest number of Asians in speaking roles, according to a study by USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. The stat behind the 12 year high for that representation? It was 8.2 per cent compared to 16.9 per cent of Black representation and 63.7 per cent of White representation.

Related: 10 women of colour making a big impact on TV.


Here is the full list of films selected for the 2020 National Film Registry

The Battle of the Century (1927)

The Blues Brothers (1980)

Bread (1918)

Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

Cabin in the Sky (1943)

With Car and Camera Around the World (1929)

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

The Dark Knight (2008)

The Devil Never Sleeps (1994)

Freedom Riders (2010)

Grease (1978)

The Ground (1993-2001)

The Hurt Locker (2008)

Illusions (1982)

The Joy Luck Club (1993)

Kid Auto Races at Venice (1913)

Lilies of the Field (1963)

Losing Ground (1982)

The Man With The Golden Arm (1955)

Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege (2006)

Outrage (1950)

Shrek (2001)

Suspense (1913)

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971)

Wattstax (1973)

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