Darren Aronofsky's 'Wrestler' to close event
Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling” will make its North American preem as the centerpiece of the 46th New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center said Tuesday.Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” will close the fest and a newly restored print of Max Ophuls’ “Lola Montes” will be featured as the spotlight retrospective. Cannes fave “The Class” had previously been announced as the opening-night pic. The fall fixture has finalized its 28-film main slate, which also includes titles such as Steven Soderbergh’s “Che,” Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” and Matteo Garrone’s raw mob tale “Gomorrah.” To accommodate ongoing construction on the Film Society’s usual fest home, Alice Tully Hall, films will screen at the Ziegfeld Theater. Fest runs Sept. 26-Oct. 12. As with Toronto, certain late-year titles that might have been strong contenders, such as “Milk” or “Revolutionary Road,” were unavailable to be screened due to delays caused by the writers strike. “We would have liked to take a look at some of those, but we’re still pleased with the lineup we were able to assemble,” said fest programmer Richard Pena. “There are a lot of returning directors, but also a lot of new voices.” Universal’s “Changeling,” which drew plaudits in Cannes, stars Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins, a single mother in 1928 Los Angeles who embarks on a quest for justice when her 9-year-old son goes missing. Mickey Rourke has drawn notice for his perf in the title role of “The Wrestler.” He plays once-popular pro Randy “The Ram” Robinson, who now ekes out a living performing for die-hard wrestling fans in small-town venues in New Jersey. Unlike downtown’s comparative upstart Tribeca, the New York Film Festival remains a small-scaled, tastemaking affair featuring the cream of the international crop. A panel of critics selects a small sampling of international titles. Some — like last year’s “No Country for Old Men” — have commercial hooks aplenty. Others are purely artistic expressions. The experience is, by comparison with many stops on the increasingly glittery festival circuit, consistent and democratic: All official selections get roughly the same treatment in terms of screening times and venue. Pena said the decision was made to go to the Ziegfeld rather than another Lincoln Center venue, as was the case last year, simply because of scheduling. It won’t be the first time the fest will travel the 10 blocks south to the Ziegfeld — the last time was 1996, when the restored “Vertigo” screened in 70mm. Visit Variety.com/festivalcentral for a complete list of films.