'Selena' nominated for the National Film Registry
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus went to the Library of Congress to preserve Selena's biopic, where she is embodied by J-Lo, as a fundamental piece of American culture.
Texas Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro recently addressed a letter to the Library of Congress, urging the inclusion of the 1997 film, Selena, in the National Film Registry. The move takes advantage of the new series on the life of legendary Chicano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, and newfound motivation found in the new year
Rep. Castro, from San Antonio, wrote and signed the letter as a representative of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the committee dedicated to the legislative improvement of the relationship with Hispanics and Latinos. The caucus already asked to include exhibits of the "sacrifice and triumph" of the Latino communities in the United States, such as La sal de la tierra (1954), Zoot Suit (1981), El Norte (1983), and Las mujeres de verdad tienen curvas (2002).
The film about the Queen of Tejano music and her dramatic assassination in 1995 was directed two years after the tragedy by Gregory Nava, with performances by Jennifer Lopez and Edward James Olmos. Navas' biopic, which has more of her works on the record as a faithful representative of the Latino reality, is part of the reflection of the Mexican-American legacy that Selena embodies.
Castro clarified in the letter that "the film has become a beloved icon of Latino culture and has found great diffusion and success, demonstrating once and for all that Latino stories are American stories."
In a second letter reported by NBC, the director, Navas, reacted with a congratulation loaded with seemingly ulterior motives about the representation of Latinos in the film industry.
"For too long U.S. Latinx filmmakers’ contribution to the film industry have been overlooked and underrepresented. Our community is important and growing and our stories need to be told. I applaud the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ efforts to bring attention to this and to honor the accomplishments of Latinx filmmakers,” he said.
The reality is that all the current efforts are due to the evident lack of representation of the Latino population considering that it represents almost a fifth of the total U.S. population, but less than 5% of actors and actresses. Not to mention, among screenwriters and directors, they barely reach 3.7% of the total population. This lack of symmetry among the basic functions of the cultural system, which include being a reflection of the cosmos itself, is a major absence and especially in the cinema, one of the favorite narrative platforms for Americans.
"The exclusion of Latinos from the film industry, the lack of support and opportunity given to Latino films and filmmakers, and the barriers that Latino-focused projects face from development through distribution mirror the ways in which Latinos continue to be excluded from the full promise of America—a problem that will not be solved until our stories can be fully told,” Castro wrote.