Will Soderbergh's Che Be Released?
Steven Soderbergh's four-and-a-half-hour film Che had its debut at the Cannes Film Festival Wednesday night. The film, which stars Benicio del Toro in the title role of Argentine-born Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, received mixed reviews, with Peter Howell of the Toronto Star calling it "elephantine" and predicting that if it is released as-is, "it will do nada at the box office and end up as el stiffo grande." On the other hand, Farah Nayeri of Bloomberg News said that Soderbergh "delivers enough moments of great cinema -- especially the majestic end -- to redeem himself in the viewer's bleary eyes." Thus far, the $61.5-million film has reportedly attracted no bidders at Cannes. Not only does it deal with a controversial subject, but the dialog is in Spanish with English subtitles, and the length of the film makes only one showing a night possible at theaters. At a news conference today (Thursday) Soderbergh proposed that theater owners present it as one movie for the first week, then split it up, showing the first part the second week and the second part the third week. He also suggested that a printed program might help audiences follow along. "That would be something fun," he remarked. He also quipped that the film presents a marketing opportunity: "It's all an elaborate way for us to sell our own T-shirts."