Searching For Sugar Man
WebsiteSearching For Sugar Man
In the current crate-digger culture, almost any old musician worth a damn has been rediscovered. Yet only the most committed pop archivists know Rodriguez, a Detroit-based singer-songwriter whose music—a mix of Nick Drake, Stevie Wonder, and Jose Feliciano—couldn’t get any airplay in the states in the ’70s, despite being fairly amazing. Through some weird serendipity though, Rodriguez’s 1970 album, Cold Fact, became a favorite among liberal whites in apartheid-ravaged South Africa. This fascinating, touching documentary tries to sort out the facts of Rodriguez’s life from the legends and rumors—which, among his South African fans, included the story that he’d committed suicide onstage. Director Malik Bendjelloul gets what’s most powerful about this story: how it speaks to the mythological qualities of pop music, especially as they pull profoundly against reality.