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Home Arts and Culture  Capital City Film Festival: 'Chasing Che' and 'Answer This!'
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Monday, March 18,2013

Capital City Film Festival: 'Chasing Che' and 'Answer This!'

Features screen Sunday at Washington Street Armory

by James Sanford

What do you do after one of your relatives ruins your business and steals all your money? Many of us would seek revenge or wallow in self-pity, but Iranian Alireza Rofougaran chose another path: He decided to learn as much as he could about the life of Che Guevara.
Rofougaran was 39 -- the age revolutionary leader Guevara was when he was executed -- when he began "Chasing Che," compiling interviews with those who knew Guevara and visiting the places that marked the major events in Guevara's life. Although not a journalist or a filmmaker (he actually apologizes for the unprofessional nature of some of his work), Rofougaran managed to meet Guevara biographer Jon Lee Anderson, Guevara's former cook and several of Guevara's one-time companions. Through discovering more about his idol, Rofougaran begins to put his own world back together. He also finds an unexpected parallel between Che's adolescence in Argentina and his own upbringing in late-1970s Iran: "Everyone wanted to be a doctor."
His film is a compelling, sometimes touching study of a mid-life crisis that becomes a major mission; hey, a trip around the world and newfound enlightenment certainly beats buying a Maserati and trying to pick up co-eds. 


'Chasing Che'
3 p.m. Sunday, April 17
Washington Street Armory
2500 S. Washington St., Lansing
$8 adults, $6 students
capitalcityfilmfest.com



"Answer This!" will warm the hearts of the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce and many University of Michigan supporters, but as a romantic comedy this "Angsty in Ann Arbor" is not exactly on a par with "Sleepless in Seattle."
Director Christopher Farah's slick, occasionally amusing film follows Paul (Christopher Gorham), the son of a celebrated U of M English professor, as he struggles to balance finishing his "thesis from Hell" with trying to win a citywide trivia championship. (Shot in 2009, the movie already has the look of a period piece: Can you imagine people smoking in bars these days?) For someone who is about to enter his 30s, Paul makes some pretty immature moves, such as getting drunk and telling off his friends and engaging in "sex in the stacks" at the library with a flirtatious freshman (Arielle Kebbel). The script hits many familiar notes: learned academics make clueless parents; young women who get in over their head while wading into the collegiate waters; the perils of student/teacher relationships, etc. But Gorham and Kebbel are charming and Ann Arbor certainly looks splendid. Fans of "8 Mile" will be delighted to see Evan Jones as the monosyllabic, tightly wound sports trivia expert (the return of Cheddar Bob!), and the first-rate song score by James Renald nicely complements the action.


'Answer This!'

5 p.m. Sunday, April 17

Washington Street Armory

2500 S. Washington St., Lansing

$9 adults, $7 students
capitalcityfilmfest.com

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