Criterion Announces December 2017 Releases

Some selections for your holiday wish list.
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The year closes out with the largest entry in Criterion Collection, one new addition, and three upgrades.  New to the collection are 100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912-2012 and Alexander Payne’s Election. Getting HD upgrades are D. A. Pennebaker's three Monterey Pop films Barbet Schroeder's General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait.  Read on to learn more about them.

100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912-2012 (#900) out Dec 5

100 years of Olympic Films.jpgSpanning 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. The set includes:

  • 53 newly restored films from 41 editions of the Olympic Games, presented together for the first time
  • Landmark 4K restorations of Olympia, Tokyo Olympiad, and Visions of Eight, among other titles
  • New scores for the silent films, composed by Maud Nelissen, Donald Sosin, and Frido ter Beek
  • A lavishly illustrated, 216-page hardcover book, featuring notes on the films by cinema historian Peter Cowie, along with a letter from Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, a short history of the project by restoration producer Adrian Wood, and hundreds of photographs from a century of Olympic Games

Election (#904) out Dec 12

cc Election.jpgPerky, 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. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised and approved by cowriter-director Alexander Payne, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2008 featuring Payne
  • New interview with Payne
  • New interview with actor Reese Witherspoon
  • The Passion of Martin, Payne’s 1991 UCLA senior thesis film
  • TruInside: “Election,” a 2016 documentary featuring on-set footage and interviews with cast and crew
  • Omaha local-news reports on the film’s production
  • More!
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Dana Stevens

Monterey Pop (#168) out Dec 12

cc Monterey Pop.jpgOn 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 this timeless document of a landmark event. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New 16-bit 4K digital restoration of Monterey Pop, supervised by director D. A. Pennebaker, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate soundtrack featuring a 5.1 mix by legendary recording engineer Eddie Kramer, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • THE OUTTAKE PERFORMANCES: Two hours of performances not included in Monterey Pop, from the Association, Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Blues Project, the Byrds, Country Joe and the Fish, the Electric Flag, Jefferson Airplane, Al Kooper, the Mamas and the Papas, Laura Nyro, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Simon and Garfunkel, Tiny Tim, and the Who (Blu-ray only)
  • Audio commentary by Pennebaker and festival producer Lou Adler
  • New interviews with Adler and Pennebaker
  • Chiefs (1968), a short film by cameraman Richard Leacock, which played alongside Monterey Pop during its inaugural theatrical run
  • Interview from 2002 with Adler and Pennebaker
  • Audio interviews with festival producer John Phillips, festival publicist Derek Taylor, and performers Cass Elliot and David Crosby
  • Photo-essay by photographer Elaine Mayes
  • Monterey International Pop Festival scrapbook
  • Trailers and radio spots
  • More!
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Chaiken

Jimi Plays Monterey & Shake! Otis at Monterey (#169) out Dec 12

cc complete Monterey Pop.jpgJimi Hendrix and Otis Redding arrived in California virtually unknown. Returning stateside from London, where he had moved to launch his musical career, Hendrix exploded at Monterey, flooring an unsuspecting audience with his maniacal six-string pyrotechnics. Redding, a venerable star of Memphis’s Stax record label, seduced the “love crowd” in one of his best—and last—performances. Jimi Plays Monterey and Shake! Otis at Monterey, feature the entire sets of these legendary musicians, performances that have entered rock-and-roll mythology. The special edition features are:

         Jimi Plays Monterey

  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker
  • Soundtrack featuring a 5.1 mix by legendary recording engineer Eddie Kramer, presented in Dolby Digital, and DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary by music critic and historian Charles Shaar Murray
  • Trailer
  • Video excerpt of Pete Townshend discussing Jimi Hendrix

    Shake! Otis at Monterey
  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker
  • Soundtrack featuring a 5.1 mix by legendary recording engineer Eddie Kramer, presented in Dolby Digital, and DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
  • Two audio commentaries by music critic and historian Peter Guralnick: the first on Otis Redding’s Monterey performance, song-by-song; the second on Redding before and after Monterey
  • Interview with Phil Walden, Redding’s manager from 1959 to 1967
  • A booklet featuring a new essay by music critic David Fricke

General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait (#153) out Dec 12

cc Idi Amin.jpgIn 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 director-approved special edition features are:

  • New, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Barbet Schroeder, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with Schroeder
  • New interview with journalist and author Andrew Rice about Idi Amin’s regime
  • PLUS: An essay by critic J. Hoberman

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