The other night, I found Searching For Sugar Man on LoveFilm instant, and after watching their academy award acceptance for best documentary, I’ve been intrigued since. What is essentially the plot, is intriguing in itself, which is compelled me into watching it even more so.
The premise of the film surrounds a musician by the name of Rodriguez, a Detroit native, who had great promise when he recorded two albums during the early 1970s. The record labels had hailed him as a Bob Dylan-esque performer. Subsequently, both of Rodriquez’s albums flopped and he faded away back into his manual labour life in Detroit.
His first album, A Cold Fact, found it’s way to South Africa, where it was bootlegged and passed around, and this is where the inspiration from Searching For Sugar Man begins it’s journey. After A Cold Fact spread like wildfire among those whom opposed the Apartheid, there was two people that it touched more than anyone. Stephen Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom. Two young South Africans that felt A Cold Fact was life changing and that Rodriguez, shrouded in mystery at the time, was fascinating.
The mystery of Rodriguez was that he had killed himself on stage, some say he shot himself, others say he lit himself on fire, either way one thing was for sure and that was that he had disappeared. Both Segerman and Strydom wanted to find out the circumstances surrounding Rodriguez, which made them set up Websites, ring people who would’ve known him in hope to find out, generally doing what they thought that would help solve the mystery.
Now the film in itself is a real triumph of the human spirit. Not only this, you could find yourself loving the music of Rodriguez, as the soundtrack is a list compiled of his songs from his two albums. The film won the academy award for best documentary and it’s very deserved. Not only the human spirit prevails here, but also courage and inspiration, in the sense that Segerman and Strydom both wanted to find Rodriguez, and because they never gave up this quest of theirs they were rewarded in possibly the greatest way.
This isn’t a serious documentary, it isn’t a funny documentary, it’s just a simple search for an artist that went missing. As mentioned before, it’s a real triumph for the human spirit and just a fantastic tale in the search for Sixto Rodriguez. It’s a strong recommendation.