Aug 12, 2012
Searching for Sugar Man 
Yesterday, in an attempt to escape my overly quiet campus and the pending dissertation that is breathing down my neck, I went out in town for a coffee, some magazines and a movie. I saw Searching for Sugar Man, a documentary I've been meaning to see for a long time. I chose Curzon Soho because of its location, and it was a great experience, of high quality, but damn, was it expensive, I'm not going there anytime soon.
Anyway, the movie, written and directed by Malik Bendjelloul, tells the story of Rodriguez, an unknown Detroit artist who recorded two albums at the beginning of the 70s, that were basically invisible to the American industry, but had a huge success in South Africa. Two locals, intrigued by the mystery of a man who they knew nothing about, but loved his music, decide to solve the problem by tracking down the money and find out the real story of Sixto Rodriguez, the South African musical hero.
I won't spoil everything, but I will say it was a nice, but bittersweet journey. The whole movie takes you through a whirlwind of emotions and stories: from the beginning of his career, when producers would consider him to be a genius, to the inexplicable downfall, to his resurrection in the southern hemisphere, the inside view of a man who changed a nation without even knowing and the sad truth of music industry and where it can get you. It goes up, then down, it gives you goosebumps, it makes you smile, and it entertains you with a wonderful soundtrack.
This leads to a very important part of the documentary- the music. At a first listen, you immediately think "Bob Dylan" and the similarities are definitely there- same grave voice, some beautiful lyrics, same style, but Rodriguez shines somehow through his songs and their own simplicity and beauty, sometimes even better and commercial than the folk idol. I really do encourage you to give it a listen, even if you don't see the movie. Try "Sugar man", "I wonder" or "Can't get away"- very relaxing, smooth and rhythmic songs.
Searching for Sugar Man is one of the best documentaries I've seen recently- I recommend it to any music lovers out there. It has a perfect balance of emotion, passion and entertainment, mixed in a rather interesting way. You should see it if you have the chance!