19 March 2013
Director: Malik Bendjelloul,
86 minutes, 2013
"Sixto Rodriguez", outside of a circle of pre-existing fans, might not be the most famous musician on the planet. But he makes a fascinating subject for the documentary "Searching For Sugar Man". Put together in part by the producer of the excellent "Man On Wire", "Searching For Sugar Man" centres around a flop album released by "Sixto Rodriguez", which went on to build an audience over the decades that followed.
But what happened to "Sixto Rodriguez" himself? That's where the film comes in, and it's an engaging tale it has to tell.
It's a terrific documentary, this. Touching, mysterious and centred on a genuinely intriguing subject matter, there's a lot to grab your interest here.
After all, is "Sixto Rodriguez" a myth, the film asks? If not, is he aware of the impact his music has had? The film plays its cards very close to its chest, and is all the better for it.
There's material beyond the film to be found on the disc, and it digs deeper in the story as part and parcel of that. So you get an interesting commentary track, as well as a making of piece as well. It supplements the main feature extremely well, too, and makes "Searching For Sugar Man" a surprising and very worthwhile purchase. Especially, ironically, if you've never heard of "Sixto Rodriguez" before. --Jon Foster
The Academy Award-winning producer of "Man on Wire" unveils the incredible and moving story of "Sixto Rodriguez", a '70s U.S. Rock icon who never was.
In the late '60s, a musician was discovered in a Detroit bar by two celebrated producers who were struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics.
They recorded an album that they believed was going to secure his reputation as one of the greatest recording artists of his generation. Despite overwhelming critical acclaim, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, it became a phenomenon.
Two South African fans then set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation led them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as "Sixto Rodriguez".
This is a film about hope, inspiration and the resonating power of music.