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'Selena' movie included in annual list of 25 most influential motion pictures, inducted into National Film Registry

Directed by Gregory Nava, it told the story of the young singer’s rise to fame in her family band and her tragic death, at 23, when she was shot to death.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — 25 films are being inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress this year, including the 1997 hit "Selena."

The films were selected for their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance to preserve the nation’s film heritage.

The 2021 selections represent one of the most diverse classes of films to enter the registry, with movies dating back nearly 120 years and representing the work of Hollywood studios, independent filmmakers, documentarians, women directors, filmmakers of color, students and the silent era of film, according to the Library of Congress.. 

The selections bring the number of films in the registry to 825, representing a small portion of the 1.7 million films in the Library’s collections.

Reflecting a Diverse Nation

Several films explore stories from the nation’s diverse communities that often carry universal themes. “Selena,” the 1997 biographical film of Tejana star Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, starred Jennifer Lopez, in her first major movie role, and Edward James Olmos. Directed by Gregory Nava, it told the story of the young singer’s rise to fame in her family band and her tragic death, at 23, when she was shot to death by the head of her fan club after a dispute. Selena’s life, music and the film became touchstones in Latin American culture, and her infectious appeal crossed over to audiences of all kinds.

Olmos, who played Abraham, the father and manager of the band, said the movie stands out as a universal family story that happens to be about Mexican-Americans along the Texas-Mexico border.

“It will stand the test of time,” Olmos told the Library. “(It’s) a masterpiece because it allows people to learn about themselves by watching other peoples’ culture.”

Other films inducted this year include Star Wars Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and WALLE (2008). 

“Films help reflect our cultural history and creativity — and show us new ways of looking at ourselves — though movies haven’t always been deemed worthy of preservation. The National Film Registry will preserve our cinematic heritage, and we are proud to add 25 more films this year,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The Library of Congress will work with our partners in the film community to ensure these films are preserved for generations to come.”

   

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