Steven Soderbergh’s four-hour, two-part Che Guevara biopic—The Argentine and Guerilla, starring Benicio del Toro as the controversial Latin American revolutionary—has missed the deadline for Cannes this year and won’t compete in the festival. Some critics are surprised, while others feel it’s a smart move on Soderbergh’s part.
What the commentators said
It’s pretty surprising that Soderbergh’s films won’t be at Cannes this year, said the blog Defamer, especially considering his "lightning-fast methodology and Focus Features’ high expectations for early awards momentum.” It’s also a little strange because supposedly “at least one of the films is ready to go.”
“When you’re dealing with one of the most controversial figures of 20th century counterculture,” said Eric Kohn in the blog Cinematical, Soderbergh seems to understand that “it’s important to take your time and get things right.” And since only one of the biopics is finished, it makes sense that he “doesn’t want to unveil one movie without the other”—Soderbergh “envisioned these two films as a single unit.”
Well, Soderbergh won’t be the only “avant-garde American” filmmaker absent from the festival, said the Guardian. “Hollywood is bracing itself for an amaemic showing” at Cannes this year. “Uncertainty over production schedules brought on by the recent writers strike has severed supply lines, and so far only Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut Synecdoche, New York, appears to be competition-bound.” It’s too bad, because “Soderbergh is much admired on the Croisette since he won the Golden Palm 19 years ago for Sex, Lies & Videotape and would be welcomed with open arms by the French.”