December 12, 2019 at 2:16 am PST | by John Paul King
‘Before Stonewall’ and ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ added to National Film Registry

Before Stonewall” (Image courtesy First Run Features)

The Library of Congress has announced the annual addition of 25 important American movies to its National Film Registry, and two important LGBTQ titles are among them.

The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. This year’s inductees are heavily weighted toward diverse content, with several films directed by women and people of color, in addition to the two LGBTQ-themed titles, “Before Stonewall” and “Boys Don’t Cry.”

“Before Stonewall,” Greta Schiller’s 1984 documentary looking back at the LGBTQ community of the 20th century before the 1969 protests at the Stonewall Inn and other key instances of LGBTQ resistance sparked the rise of the modern equality movement.

Hilary Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry” (Image courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures)

“Boys Don’t Cry,” released in 1999, is the fictionalized docudrama about the rape and murder of real-life trans teen Brandon Teena, played by in an Oscar-winning performance by Hilary Swank. The film’s director, Kimberly Pierce, commented in the Registry’s official release, “Twenty years later, it still feels like a miracle that ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ got made. I fell in love with Brandon Teena and his desire to live and love as himself in a time and place where that was impossible. I felt a powerful conviction to bring Brandon to life on screen, so audiences would love him as I did and share my horror at his rape and murder. To our amazement, the world embraced Brandon. It is meaningful to me as a filmmaker, a genderqueer and as a person that the Library of Congress has recognized ‘Boys Don’t Cry.’ This moment is a culmination, unimaginable and wonderful.”

Previous LGBTQ-themed inductees have included “Brokeback Mountain,” “Paris is Burning,” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Nevertheless, the Registry has acknowledged the lack of representation for queer titles on its list.

Speaking with Time, Professor Jacqueline Stewart, who heads the registry board’s inclusion task force, told the magazine, “One of the things we uncovered when we looked at the registry is that we have a long way to go in terms of reflecting LGBTQ+ experiences.”

Other films included among this year’s additions are “Amadeus,” “Clerks,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Gaslight,” “The Last Waltz,” “Platoon,” “Purple Rain,” “She’s Gotta Have It,” Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” and “Zoot Suit.”

You can see the full list here.

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