Texas Congressman Nominates El Paso Favorite ‘Selena’ for National Film Registry
A Texas Congressman thinks Selena, the 1997 biopic on late Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla, is worthy of being preserved for time eternal.
In a letter sent to Librarian of Congress on behalf of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro of San Antonio wants the movie to be one of the twenty-five films added to the National Film Registry for 2021. Castro, wrote, in part:
The film…touches on important themes of cultural identity and assimilation faced by Mexican American communities as they navigate their personal connections to two cultures and languages. The film has become a beloved icon of Latino culture and has found widespread mainstream success, proving once and for all that Latino stories are American stories. Given its importance as a work of Latino cinema, we believe it is deserving of preservation at the Library of Congress.
The El Paso Connection
The film that made Jennifer Lopez a household name has two El Paso connections. El Paso native Lupe Ontiveros plays Yolanda Saldívar, the former fan club president who was convicted of murdering the beloved music legend. If Selena is chosen for inclusion, it would mark the fourth movie Ontiveros has been a part of in the National Film Registry after Zoot Suit, El Norte, and Real Women Have Curves.
Ontiveros, who graduated from El Paso High School, passed away in 2012 from liver cancer.
Anything for Selenas
El Paso is also Erick Carrillo’s hometown. Carillo, who I hear now lives in Los Angeles, portrays the character referred to in the script as "First Cholo.” The scene-stealing Carillo delivers two of the most memorable lines in the movie: "This bumper was pulled off by the bus of Selenas" and the often-quoted, "Anything for Selenas!"
The lines, as any card-carrying Latino knows, are both from the scene in which “First Cholo” and “Second Cholo” cruising by in a low-rider stop to help Selena and her family pull their tour bus out of a ditch. Their good deed results in the low-low losing its rear bumper, but Carillo’s character refuses to let his idol pay for the damage.
"Are you kidding me, man?" he asks incredulously. "This bumper is going to go on the wall of my garage, carnal. I’m going to put a little sign under it, it's gonna say, ‘This bumper was pulled off by the bus of Selenas!’" As many times as I've seen the movie, that scene still makes me LOL.
Twenty-five films deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" are added to the registry each year. Nominations for the 2021 Registry can be submitted online until Sept. 15 so if you too would like to see Selena get its due, email the Library of Congress HERE.