Every year, the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry selects a new crop of historically noteworthy films for inclusion. The class of 2021 has been released, and it includes material by some well-known musicians such as David Byrne, Jennifer Lopez, and Ray Manzarek of The Doors.
“Nearly as inventive visually as it is sonically, the film is directed by Jonathan Demme who, wisely, keeps his camera tightly focused on the stage, leaving the music and band members (and the members’ own unique theatrics) to speak completely for themselves,” says the Library Of Congress of Talking Heads’ iconic 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense.
Selena, a 1997 film starring Lopez in her first significant cinematic role as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, is also on the list. Lopez’s career and Selena’s legacy were both boosted by the film, which was nominated for Grammys and Golden Globes.
Evergreen, a 12-minute student film directed by Manzarek (who died in 2013) in 1964 before becoming famous with The Doors, also makes the cut. The film is “about a jazz musician (Henry Crismonde) and his romance with an art student (played by Manzarek’s then-girlfriend and future wife Dorothy Fujikawa),” according to the Library of Congress. “I think film informed his work and Jim’s work throughout their musical careers,” Fujikawa said of Manzarek’s interest in film. Their songs were always conceived as cinematic expressions. They were usually sort of theatrical little stories that told a story with music. They were cinematic tunes in that regard.”
Meanwhile, while Cooley High isn’t a music film, it is noted for its excellent soundtrack, which includes songs by Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Four Tops, and others.
Star Wars Episode VI — Return Of The Jedi, Wall-E, and Richard Pryor: Live In Concert are among the non-musical highlights of this year’s class.