Searching for Sugarman
It’s rare that I head into a film not knowing much about it since there’s almost too much information available these days – it’s always disappointing when you realize all the funny parts of the comedy you’re watching were stuffed into the trailer. But that’s what happened when I went to see Searching for Sugar Man, a documentary about the elusive musician Sixto Rodriguez – and I was very pleasantly surprised. Directed by Malik Bendjelloul, the film follows the efforts of two diehard fans, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, who make it their personal quest to determine if the rumored death of Rodriguez was true. Although Rodriguez is little-known in North America, he was a legend in South Africa whose celebrity was compared to the Rolling Stones and Elvis and although it was widely accepted that Rodriguez had killed himself onstage either, gruesomely by setting himself on fire or shooting himself in the head, Segerman and Strydom refuse to give up hope. They investigate Rodriguez’s disppearance in a time before the widespread use of the internet, and I was particularly captivated by the idea that it was possible, once, not to know everything about a person and his or her whereabouts with a quick google – mystery was once a part of life. Searching for Sugar Man is set to Rodriguez’ haunting and poetic music – the soulful, searching lyrics are the perfect accompaniment to the roller-coaster ride narrative that unfolds. At the heart of the film is the story of a true artist – a person dedicated to his craft irrespective of the public reception it receives. Highly recommended.
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