The things filmmakers want to preserve

Earlier the week, the National Film Registry announced that it was adding 25 movies to the list of films it considers worth preserving for all time.

Films selected for the 2013 National Film Registry
“Bless Their Little Hearts” (1984)
“Brandy in the Wilderness” (1969)
“Cicero March” (1966)
“Daughter of Dawn” (1920)
“Decasia” (2002)
“Ella Cinders” (1926)
“Forbidden Planet” (1956)
“Gilda” (1946)
“The Hole” (1962)
“Judgment at Nuremberg” (1961)
“King of Jazz” (1930)
The Lunch Date” (1989)
“The Magnificent Seven” (1960)
“Martha Graham Dance film” (1944)
“Mary Poppins” (1964)
“Men & Dust” (1940)
“Midnight” (1939)
“Notes on the Port of St. Francis” (1951)
“Pulp Fiction” (1994)
“The Quiet Man” (1952)
“The Right Stuff (1983)
“Roger & Me” (1989)
“A Virtuous Vamp” (1919)
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966)
“Wild Boys of the Road” (1933)

Now, I had seen nine of these. And some of these are so far before my time, I don’t know if I’ll ever see them.But there’s something here called “The Lunch Date,” made in 1989, which I’d never heard of.

And it happens to be on YouTube:

OK. Adequate. Why did they pick it?

The Lunch Date (1989). Adam Davidson’s 10-minute Columbia University student film examines the partial erosion of haughty self-confidence when stranded outside one’s personal comfort zone. A woman has a slice-of-life chance encounter in a train station with a homeless man and stumbles through several off-key reactions when they share a salad she believes is hers. Winner of a 1990 Student Academy Award, Lunch Date stands out as a simple, yet effective, parable on the vicissitudes and pervasiveness of perception, race and stereotypes.


Not to mention this from the Academy Awards:

Year: 1990 (63rd) Academy Awards
Category: Short Film (Live Action)
Film Title: The Lunch Date
Winner: Adam Davidson
Presenter: Martin Short, Chevy Chase
Date & Venue: March 25, 1991; Shrine Civic Auditorium

This is really a great thrill. Thank you. It’s also very scary, too, because it really is just a ten-minute student film I did for a class. I’d like to thank all those people who volunteered to help this student film, particularly my actors Scotty Bloch, Clebert Ford, Paul Sarnoff, Bernard Johnson. Also my co-producer Garth Stein, somewhere up there. Let’s see, Anghel Decca, Thomas Cabaniss, and Stuart Emanuel, Claudia Mohr. My family. My school, Columbia University. That’s it. Thank you.

Really? It won an Oscar. It’s on the National Film Registry. Looks like it also won at Cannes. I think I’m missing something.

I think I’ll go watch “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” again. That, too, was in black and white.


Disneyland Dream

Frank Rich wrote a column in yesterday’s New York Times on a 1956 home movie. The movie, called “Disneyland Dream“, was put together by Robbins Barstow, a Connecticut father who documented his family’s win of a Disneyland vacation, the result of a contest by the 3M Corp.

What distinguishes this home movie from the one you have in your videocam is that “Disneyland Dream” was admitted to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress two years ago. That rare honor elevates Barstow’s filmmaking to a pantheon otherwise restricted mostly to Hollywood classics, from “Citizen Kane” to “Star Wars.”

According to the National Film Registry: The Barstow family films a memorable home movie of their trip to Disneyland. Robbins and Meg Barstow, along with their children Mary, David and Daniel were among 25 families who won a free trip to the newly opened Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., as part of a “Scotch Brand Cellophane Tape” contest sponsored by 3M. Through vivid color and droll narration (“The landscape was very different from back home in Connecticut”), we see a fantastic historical snapshot of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Catalina Island, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and Disneyland in mid-1956. Home movies have assumed a rapidly increasing importance in American cultural studies as they provide a priceless and authentic record of time and place.

Robbins Barstow, who did the voiceover for his home films years later, died last month at the age of 91, but left behind a trove of family movies.

Here’s “Disneyland Dreams,” in four parts: