"Darren did not put a strip pole in his office." -- Marisa Tomei.

Does the New York Film Festival still matter? The 46th edition opened last Friday, and while the fest may not have the celebrity cachet and discovery intent of Sundance and Cannes, or the welcoming populist mentality of Toronto, it stubbornly insists on being recognized as the gatekeeper for all that is worthwhile in world cinema.

Nonetheless, press conferences with a big-name American director and a resurrected American star (and his fetching, Academy Award-winning co-star) have stolen the spotlight during the first week of the festival. Looking somewhat like a guerilla himself, Steven Soderbergh arrived to promote his four-hour epic Che, starring Benicio del Toro as the revolutionary leader. According to the director, "There are a million Ches -– he means something different to everyone."

That attitude has irked some critics; Karina Longworth at Spout felt that Soderbergh's "unwillingness to make a statement may be a major part of the problem." On the other hand, Glenn Kenny of Some Came Running opined: "Silly me, I imagined that such an approach constituted a statement sufficient unto itself, but apparently not." The film will get a rare "roadshow" treatment when it opens in December: trotted around in its four-hour entirety to selected cities for one week only by IFC Films in December, complete with elevated ticket prices and a fancy giveaway program of some sort. Dreamgirls for the intelligentsia?

After the jump: The Wrestler and two fresh new films about those darn kids.

categories Cinematical