New York State Writers Institute - Classic Film Series

election2.jpg - 12032 Bytes EL EC TI ON

with film commentary by
Tom Perrotta and Jim Taylor

November 18, 1999 (Thursday) at 7:00 p.m.
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue
(Free and Open to the Public)

(American, 1999, 103 minutes, color, 35 mm)
Directed by Alexander Payne
Starring Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon,
Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell

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This 1999 satiric comedy is about a hotly contested high school election which becomes a metaphor for the current state of American politics. An unopposed election for student president turns into a three-way race pitting brother against sister. The San Francisco Examiner called the film a "teen black comedy [that] hits its mark," and said that "The screenplay. . .sees the lives of these suburban students and teachers through a prism of absurdity that refracts more truth than any straightforward telling." The film is based on the novel, ELECTION (1998, Berkley Signature, ISBN 0-425-16728-3) by critically-acclaimed writer Tom Perrotta.

Tom Perrotta and Jim Taylor, co-screenwriter for ELECTION, will provide film commentary and answer questions immediately following the screening.

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Tom Perrotta is a novelist and short story writer whose work explores the adolescent experience. His first publication, Bad Haircut: Stories of the Seventies (1994), is a collection of coming-of-age stories, which gives insight into the joys and agonies of adolescence. In his first novel, The Wishbones (1997), a 31-year old musician can't cope with the responsibilities of adulthood and instead lives an extended adolescence. He grew up in New Jersey and currently lives in Boston where he teaches expository writing at Harvard University. Perrotta received his B.A. in English from Yale University and his M.A. in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. His stories have been published in The Gettysburg Review, Epoch, Crazyhorse, and Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Prose. In addition, Perrotta's Bad Haircut is being taught at Harvard in both literature and history courses, as well as at Sarah Lawrence, Williams College, the West Side YMCA in New York City, St. Ann's School in Brooklyn, and Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens.

Election screenwriter Jim Taylor also wrote the screenplay for Citizen Ruth (1996), directed by Alexander Payne, a comedy/satire about the abortion debate that starred Laura Dern as a glue-sniffing pregnant mother.

"provides gratifyingly exact and telling portraits of the kids themselves. Solid plotting guarantees that the reader really does want to learn who wins when the ballots are finally counted." - The New York Times

"Moving. . .A convincing portrait of a time of life, illuminating all the profound cruelty and tenderness of adolescence." - Publisher's Weekly

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