AFI Fest pins down ‘Wrestler,’ ‘Che’

Soderbergh film to have 30-minute intermission

AFI Fest 2008 has slotted Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” and Steven Soderbergh’s “Che” as centerpiece galas. Pics will have their West Coast preems Nov. 1 and Nov. 6, respectively, at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

It marks the second visit to the fest for Aronofsky, who preemed “The Fountain” at the 2006 edition. Starring Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler” won the Golden Lion at the Venice Intl. Film Festival and was quickly snapped up by Fox Searchlight following its North American preem at Toronto.

“Che” will unspool as a two-parter with a 30-minute intermission. The biopic debuted at Cannes, winning an acting award for lead Benicio del Toro. IFC Films nabbed the film at Toronto.

“These are both major artistic achievements by two of America’s most consistently provocative filmmakers,” said AFI fest artistic director, Rose Kuo.

The fest announced four additional special screenings: Rian Johnson’s con men tale “The Brothers Bloom,” Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s baseball pic “Sugar,” James Gray’s drama “Two Lovers” starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joaquin Phoenix, and the assemble film “Tokyo!”

The 2008 edition will run Oct. 30-Nov. 9.