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Thursday, December 29, 2011: These Amazing Shadows

by Ethan Alter December 29, 2011 6:00 am
Thursday, December 29, 2011: <i>These Amazing Shadows</i>

Shown as part of PBS's Independent Lens series, Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton's new documentary profiles the vital work being done by the National Film Registry branch of the Library of Congress. Every year since its creation in 1988, the Registry designates 25 movies that are worthy of preservation. Currently there are some 550 movies housed in the organization's archives, including everything from acknowledged classics like Casablanca and The Godfather, to experimental shorts and cartoons like Duck Amuck and Dog Star Man to less high-minded, but extremely popular titles like Groundhog Day and John Carpenter's Halloween.

These Amazing Shadows includes clips from all of the films currently listed on the Registry's rolls, along with interviews from big-name industry folks discussing their love of some of those titles as well as the importance of film preservation in general. For example, Christopher Nolan sings the praises of both 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, while John Lasseter talks up Star Wars and Wayne Wang sings the praises of West Side Story. (One notable absence from the cast of talking heads is Martin Scorsese, who never misses the chance to talk up film preservation. Maybe he was too busy finishing up Hugo at the time the documentary was being put together.) The fact that the Registry deems Night of the Living Dead and that old "Let's All Go the Lobby" jingle as worthy of preservation as Lawrence of Arabia and On the Waterfront should make movie lovers everywhere particularly pleased.

These Amazing Shadows airs at 10 PM on PBS, opposite a new episode of Big Shrimpin' and the season finale of Beavis and Butt-head.

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