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Criterion Collection Announces December Titles, Including ‘Election’ and ‘Monterey Pop’

We always knew they'd Pick Flick eventually.

Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick in Election

The Criterion Collection has unveiled its holiday slate, with “Election” leading the list of titles being released this December. Joining Alexander Payne’s classic in the Collection are a new digital transfer of Barbet Schroeder’s documentary “General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait,” “The Complete Monterey Pop Festival,” and the previously announced “100 Years of Olympic Films 1912-2012.” More information — and, just as importantly, cover art — below:

“Election”

“Perky, overachieving Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) gets on the nerves of history teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) to begin with, but after she launches her campaign for high-school president and his personal life starts to fall apart, things spiral out of control. In Alexander Payne’s satire ‘Election,’ the teacher becomes unhealthily obsessed with cutting his student down to size, covertly backing a spoiler candidate to stop her from steamrolling to victory, and putting in motion a series of dirty tricks and reckless promises with uncanny real-world political parallels. Adapting a then-unpublished novel by Tom Perrotta, Payne grounds the absurdity of his central dynamic in the recognizable — the setting is his hometown of Omaha, and the accomplished cast is rounded out with nonprofessionals — and distills his closely observed take on deeply flawed humanity to its bitter but stealthily sympathetic essence.”

General Idi Amin: A Self-Portrait Criterion

“General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait”

“In 1974, Barbet Schroeder went to Uganda to make a film about Idi Amin, the country’s ruthless, charismatic dictator. Three years into a murderous regime that would be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Ugandans, Amin prepared a triumphal greeting for the filmmakers, staging rallies, military maneuvers, and cheery displays of national pride, and envisioning the film as an official portrait to adorn his cult of personality. Schroeder, however, had other ideas, emerging with a disquieting, caustically funny brief against Amin, in which the dictator’s own endless stream of testimony — charming, menacing, and nonsensical by turns — serves as the most damning evidence. A revelatory tug-of-war between subject and filmmaker, ‘General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait’ is a landmark in the art of documentary and an appalling study of egotism in power.”

“The Complete Monterey Pop Festival”

“On a beautiful June weekend in 1967, at the beginning of the Summer of Love, the first and only Monterey International Pop Festival roared forward, capturing a decade’s spirit and ushering in a new era of rock and roll. Monterey featured career-making performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, but they were just a few performers in a wildly diverse lineup that included Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas and the Papas, the Who, the Byrds, Hugh Masekela, and the extraordinary Ravi Shankar. With his characteristic vérité style — and a camera crew that included the likes of Albert Maysles and Richard Leacock — D. A. Pennebaker captured it all, immortalizing moments that have become legend: Pete Townshend smashing his guitar, Jimi Hendrix burning his, Mama Cass being blown away by Janis Joplin’s performance. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the most comprehensive document of the Monterey International Pop Festival ever produced, featuring the films ‘Monterey Pop,’ ‘Jimi Plays Monterey,’ and ‘Shake! Otis at Monterey’ along with every available complete performance filmed by Pennebaker and his crew.”

“100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912-2012”

“Spanning fifty-three movies and forty-one editions of the Olympic Games, ‘100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912–2012’ is the culmination of a monumental, award-winning archival project encompassing dozens of new restorations by the International Olympic Committee. The documentaries collected here cast a cinematic eye on some of the most iconic moments in the history of modern sports, spotlighting athletes who embody the Olympic motto of ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’: Jesse Owens shattering world records on the track in 1936 Berlin, Jean-Claude Killy dominating the Grenoble slopes in 1968, Joan Benoit breaking away to win the Games’ first women’s marathon in Los Angeles in 1984. In addition to the impressive ten-feature contribution of Bud Greenspan, this stirring collective chronicle of triumph and defeat includes such documentary landmarks as Leni Riefenstahl’s ‘Olympia’ and Kon Ichikawa’s ‘Tokyo Olympiad,’ along with captivating lesser-known works by major directors like Claude Lelouch, Carlos Saura, and Miloš Forman. It also offers a fascinating glimpse of the development of film itself, and of the technological progress that has brought viewers ever closer to the action. Traversing continents and decades, reflecting the social, cultural, and political changes that have shaped our recent history, this remarkable movie marathon showcases a hundred years of human endeavor.”

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