By Nicole Acevedo
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are nominating 25 films highlighting the experiences of Latinos in the U.S. for inclusion in the National Film Registry.
The nominations are part of growing efforts to fight Latino underrepresentation in Hollywood, Reps. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., and Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said in a letter to Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden on Tuesday.
Some of the nominated films are Julie Taymor’s 2002 biographic film “Frida,” starring Salma Hayek as the legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and Edward James Olmos’ 2006 film “Walkout,” based on the true story of the 1968 East Los Angeles high school walkouts, starring Michael Peña and Alexa Vega.
Some delve into Latin American politics or history, such as the 1989 film “Romero,” with the late actor Raúl Juliá, about the assassination of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero by right-wing death squads, which preceded a long civil war.
Other movies focus on family and culture, such as María Ripoll’s 2001 film “Tortilla Soup,” starring Hector Elizondo as a retired chef who insists that his three adult daughters gather every Sunday for family dinner. Also on the list is Alfredo De Villa’s 2008 film “Nothing Like the Holidays,” starring Alfred Molina, Elizabeth Peña, and John Leguizamo, which depicts an extended Puerto Rican family’s Christmas holiday gathering in Chicago.
“The National Film Registry’s very existence speaks to the importance of film in American culture and society. Hollywood is the main image-defining and narrative-producing industry in the United States. As you know, Latinos remain dramatically underrepresented in this influential industry, contributing to the misperceptions and stereotypes about Latinos in our society,” the lawmakers said in their letter to Hayden.
“When we cannot tell our stories, others will tell stories about us — we believe this is a significant factor motivating ongoing anti-Latino sentiment in American society, one which negatively impacts Latinos in all aspects of society, from immigration law to the education system to the current public health crisis,” the letter reads.
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