'Lion King', 'Break­fast Club' added to Na­tional Film Reg­istry

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

While not usu­ally re­garded as a golden age of Amer­i­can cin­ema, the 1980s pro­duced plenty of pop­u­lar clas­sics - and a few more of them have now been added to the pres­ti­gious Na­tional Film Reg­istry. The Li­brary of Congress an­nounced Wed­nes­day that "The Break­fast Club," "The Princess Bride" and "Who Framed Roger Rab­bit" are among the 25 movies tapped for preser­va­tion this year. They join three other more ob­scure 1980s ti­tles on this year's list.

The na­tional li­brary also picked a few more re­cent fa­vorites, in­clud­ing "Thelma & Louise," Dis­ney's "The Lion King" and "Rush­more." The li­brary se­lects movies for preser­va­tion in its au­dio-vis­ual vault in Culpeper, Vir­ginia, be­cause of their cul­tural, historic or artistic im­por­tance. This year's picks bring the to­tal num­ber of films in the reg­istry to 700. The choices have be­come in­creas­ingly di­verse and eclec­tic since the reg­istry be­gan in 1989.

Still, the li­brary al­ways makes room for some crowd-pleasers. Con­sid­ered a fem­i­nist land­mark for its por­trait of women who stand up to abu­sive part­ners and find lib­er­a­tion on a crime spree, "Thelma & Louise" achieved a rare dis­tinc­tion when its co-stars, Geena Davis and Su­san Saran­don, were both nom­i­nated for the best-ac­tress Os­car. (Jodie Fos­ter won that year, for "The Si­lence of the Lambs.") It's the third movie di­rected by the pro­lific Ri­d­ley Scott to join the reg­istry, fol­low­ing "Alien" and "Blade Run­ner."

"I am very hon­ored and proud to be ac­knowl­edged by the Li­brary of Congress," Scott said in a state­ment. "'Blade Run­ner' will now have two great ladies to keep him com­pany." Lauded for its sen­si­tiv­ity, "The Break­fast Club" (1985), from writer-di­rec­tor John Hughes, is the most en­dur­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion of the so-called "Brat Pack," a short-lived troupe of young stars that in­cluded Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy.

Two years later, "The Princess Bride" charmed au­di­ences with its mix of fan­tasy, ac­tion and hu­mor and its in­no­va­tive screen­play that al­lowed a young boy (Fred Sav­age) to pro­vide run­ning com­men­tary on the story. With its mix of live ac­tion and an­i­ma­tion, "Who Framed Roger Rab­bit" was a gen­uine break­through that looks quaint in ret­ro­spect. Di­rec­tor Robert Ze­meckis' wacky 1988 film noir, set dur­ing

Hol­ly­wood's golden age, imag­ined car­toon char­ac­ters liv­ing along­side their hu­man col­lab­o­ra­tors and grap­pling with off-screen com­pli­ca­tions in­clud­ing black­mail and mur­der. In "Roger Rab­bit," hu­mans shar­ing space with car­toons was so novel it had to be part of the plot. Now, thanks to the perfection of dig­i­tal ef­fects in movies such as "Ti­tanic" and the "Lord of the Rings" tril­ogy, movie au­di­ences can hardly dis­tin­guish be­tween what's real and what's an­i­mated. "Rush­more" (1998) is the first movie from whim­si­cal au­teur Wes An­der­son to be added and is one of just a hand­ful of films to be se­lected fewer than 20 years af­ter its release. Movies must be at least 10 years old to be in­cluded.

One of a few Dis­ney an­i­mated movies not based on fairy tales, "The Lion King" (1994) was part of the stu­dio's early-1990s re­nais­sance. It proved so sturdy that a Broadway adap­ta­tion with avant-garde cos­tumes be­came wildly pop­u­lar.

This year's other '80s se­lec­tions are "The Atomic Cafe" (1982), a com­pi­la­tion of clips about the threat of nu­clear war; "The De­cline of West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion," di­rec­tor Pene­lope Spheeris' 1981 doc­u­men­tary about the hard­core punk rock scene in Los Angeles; and "Suzanne, Suzanne", a 1982 doc­u­men­tary short about a black woman's strug­gles with addiction.

Di­rec­tor Al­fred Hitch­cock now has seven films on the reg­istry with the in­clu­sion of "The Birds" (1963). Other ti­tles join­ing the list are "Black­board Jun­gle" (1955), "Funny Girl" (1968), "East of Eden" (1955) and "Point Blank" (1967). The old­est of this year's se­lec­tions is "Life of an Amer­i­can Fireman" (1903), con­sid­ered by film his­to­rian Charles Musser to be an in­no­va­tive early Amer­i­can film for its use of edit­ing, sto­ry­telling and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween shots. Among the lesser known but his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant se­lec­tions is a se­ries of short films by Solomon Sir Jones, a Baptist min­is­ter and am­a­teur film­maker. Shot on then-new 16mm cam­eras, his silent films doc­u­mented African-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties in Ok­la­homa be­tween 1924 and 1928. — AP

When a group of friends took their cam­eras to the streets of Da­m­as­cus to doc­u­ment Syria's 2011 up­ris­ing, they could not have fore­told how events would spi­ral out of con­trol and change their lives for­ever.

Obaidah Zy­toon, a ra­dio host with big dreams for her coun­try, was full of hope for freedom when she started film­ing the demon­stra­tions that broke out against Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad in March 2011. Five years later, she is in Copen­hagen liv­ing as a refugee. Zy­toon is one of the lucky ones. Most of her friends did not make it out of Syria alive.

Much of the death and de­struc­tion doc­u­mented in Zy­toon's home­town of Zabadani in the film is eerily sim­i­lar to im­ages com­ing out of the bat­tle of Aleppo this week, where Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces and their al­lies fi­nally broke rebel re­sis­tance to hand As­sad his big­gest vic­tory of the civil war. "What re­mains is the crime," Zy­toon nar­rates as she watches dogs eat­ing a dead sheep amidst the death and de­struc­tion of war.

The War Show, which pre­miered in the Mid­dle East this week at the Dubai Film Fes­ti­val, is a dis­turb­ing doc­u­men­tary that com­piles footage shot in­side Syria from 2011 to 2013, tak­ing view­ers through a journey of eupho­ria and rev­o­lu­tion to dis­ap­point­ment and de­spair. In one scene at the be­gin­ning, the friends sit to­gether at a Da­m­as­cus apart­ment smok­ing hash and dis­cussing rev­o­lu­tion. "By 2014, we will all be free," one of them says. An­other replies that by 2014 they will all be dead.

Hu­man sto­ries

The har­row­ing ef­fect is am­pli­fied as view­ers be­come deeply in­volved in the lives of Hous­sam, Hisham, Lulu, Rabea, Amal and Argha, joy­ful young Syr­i­ans who fall in love, play heavy metal, go to the beach and dream big, only to meet tragic ends. "You were the love of his life, you know," Zy­toon tells her friend Lulu in Tur­key af­ter they dis­cover that Hisham, who had gone miss­ing for years af­ter be­ing picked up at a check­point, had died in prison af­ter re­peated tor­ture.

Rabea, a mu­si­cian who Zy­toon de­scribed as "universal" in his views on life, gets as­sas­si­nated in his car. He is found dead by his sis­ter, who des­per­ately tries to put part of his shat­tered forehead to­gether to bring him back to life. Zy­toon col­lab­o­rated with Danish film­maker and co-di­rec­tor An­dreas Dals­gaard to bring those sto­ries to life af­ter meet­ing him in Tur­key and show­ing him the footage.—Reuters

Cana­dian actor Alan Thicke, best known for his lead­ing role in the 1980s fam­ily sit­com "Grow­ing Pains" and as the fa­ther of R&B singer Robin Thicke, died on Tues­day, his spokes­woman said. He was 69. "Alan's sud­den pass­ing has been con­firmed. At present, we have no fur­ther de­tails," Monique Moss said in a brief email.

A source close to the fam­ily told Reuters by tele­phone that Thicke suf­fered a heart at­tack and was trans­ported to Prov­i­dence Saint Joseph Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia, where he was pro­nounced dead. Grammy award nom­i­nated-singer Robin Thicke told the Los Angeles Times news­pa­per that his fa­ther was play­ing hockey with an­other of his sons, 19-year-old Carter Thicke, when he suf­fered the heart at­tack.

"I saw him a few days ago and told him how much I loved and re­spected him," Thicke told the news­pa­per, adding that his fa­ther was an in­spi­ra­tion for his own mu­si­cal ca­reer. "The good thing was that he was beloved and he had clo­sure." Alan Thicke was beloved by many fans for his role as psy­chi­a­trist and fa­ther Ja­son Seaver in ABC's "Grow­ing Pains," which ran from 1985 to 1992. Thicke's work in the show earned him a nom­i­na­tion for a Golden Globe for the best per­for­mance by an actor in a tele­vi­sion se­ries in 1988.

Thicke was also a pop­u­lar host for tele­vi­sion events, in­clud­ing the Emmy Awards, and a pro­lific com­poser of tele­vi­sion theme songs, among which was the theme for Wheel of Fortune, his web­site said. Thicke also ap­peared in an ar­ray of tele­vi­sion shows, in­clud­ing "The Outer Lim­its," "Mur­der She Wrote," and "Mar­ried with Chil­dren," ac­cord­ing to IMDB. More re­cently, Thicke was set to ap­pear in "Fuller House," a re­make of the pop­u­lar 1990s fam­ily sit­com pro­duced by Net­flix.

"Sea­son 2 Fuller House look­ing good. I even like the ones I'm not in!" Thicke said in a tweet ear­lier on Tues­day. His death was quickly mourned on so­cial me­dia. "Amer­ica loved Alan Thicke. I'm so sad he's gone. Send­ing so much love to his fam­ily," co­me­dian Ellen DeGeneres said in a tweet. The Na­tional Hockey League tweeted: "The NHL fam­ily is sad to learn of the pass­ing of long­time hockey fan Alan Thicke." — Reuters

In this Sun­day, April 26, 2015 file photo, Alan Thicke poses in the press­room at the 42nd an­nual Day­time Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Stu­dios in Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia. — AP

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