“13 Lakes,” “Strangers” added to National Film Registry

James Benning's doc 13 Lakes and Mark Jonathan Harris's film Into the Arms of Strangers (pictured) are among the annual crop of films that have been added to the U.S. Library of Congress's National Film Registry.
December 18, 2014

Documentary titles such as James Benning’s 13 Lakes and Mark Jonathan Harris’s Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (pictured) are among the annual crop of films that have been added to the U.S. Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.

Each year, 25 films that are deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant are added to the registry to ensure the titles and prints are preserved for future generations. Films must be at least 10 years old, and selections are made based on nominations by the public that are then reviewed by Library of Congress curators and the National Film Preservation Board.

This year’s batch – announced by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington on Wednesday (December 17) – includes four non-fiction titles.

In Benning’s 2004 film 13 Lakes, the director visits 13 U.S. lakes and shoots identical 10-minute takes at each. In a statement, Library curators noted that, “the power of the film is that the filmmaker teaches the viewer to look better and learn to distinguish the great varieties in the landscape alongside him. The list of lakes alone is enough to encompass a treatise on America and its history.”

Other entries to the registry include 1965′s 13-minute doc short Felicia, in which UCLA film students Trevor Greenwood, Robert Dickson and Alan Gorg follow a teenage African American-Hispanic girl from a poor LA neighborhood; as well as Harris’s Oscar-winning documentary Into the Arms of Strangers (2000), which looks at Central European children who were sent to live in the UK during World War II.

Samuel Fuller’s silent 16 mm footage from a Nazi concentration camp in Falkenau, Czechoslovakia – a 1945 documentary short titled V-E +1 - is the final non-fiction entry to the registry.

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