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An odyssey of discovery, even self-discovery
howard.schumann26 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Sixto Rodriguez, a little known American folk-rock singer/songwriter in the tradition of Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens, released two albums in the early 1970s, Cold Fact, and Coming From Reality but failed to achieve any popularity. Though praised by critics, his haunting songs about love and loss, drugs and politics, such as "I Wonder," "Cause," and "Sugar Man" should have been hits, but, for some reason, were not. After a minor tour in Australia that brought neither success nor recognition, he was dropped from his record label and was not publicly heard from again.

Winner of the Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul's moving documentary Searching for Sugar Man investigates the life of Rodriguez who grew up in a run-down working class area of Detroit, Michigan and worked mostly as a manual laborer, singing at night in small, smoke-filled bars. A friend who remembers him at the time says, "There was something mysterious about him. He looked like a drifter." The film demonstrates Rodriguez' striking presence using a mix of songs, interviews with those who knew him or knew about him, animation, and archival photos.

Though no one knows exactly how, his albums somehow made their way to South Africa and circulated among white Afrikaans musicians. All of this led to a growing mystique about an artist that no one knew anything about. Rumors began to circulate that, during an unsuccessful concert, he shot himself in the head or died from a drug overdose, but no one knew for sure how he died. The film begins when Cape Town record shop owner and music fan Stephen Segerman, whose nickname "Sugar Man" mirrors one of Rodriguez' most famous songs, meets music journalist Craig Bartholomew-Strydom and the two undertake to investigate what had happened to him.

We find out that his album Cold Fact was distributed on a small South African label, that one of his songs, Sugar Man, was banned on the government-run radio station for its drug references, and that the anti-establishment lyrics of his songs such as The Establishment Blues struck a responsive chord with the growing student involvement in the anti-apartheid movement, and led indirectly to the Afrikaner protest musicians of the '80s. When Segerman and Bartholomew begin their investigation to uncover the mystery of Sixto Rodriguez, they take a cue from Watergate and decide to "follow the money." As each layer is unpeeled, it only adds another mystery.

Though his albums are said to have sold half a million records, speculation is rife with questions about what happened to the money and an interview with, Clarence Avant, the boss of Motown adds more heat than light. What the music detectives eventually find is not only surprising but extremely poignant, and it is best for viewers to find this out for themselves. The film is an odyssey of discovery, even self-discovery, that is a profoundly inspiring celebration of a man and his music. More than just a film about music and musicians, however, it is about the human condition. Though it reveals its secrets slowly, when it hits you, it is with an astonishing burst of power that you can feel in your bones. Searching for Sugar Man is one of the best films of the year.
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West LA Loves Sixto Rodriguez
djdavig5 August 2012
The Landmark Theatre in West LA is a tough crowd but they were laughing and crying and when it was over they were applauding. This is what movie magic is all about. I wandered in and was blown away. Where can I get the soundtrack?? Holy! Crap!!

Sixto is what Dylan could have been. That's right he's better than Bob. Better writer, better vocalist by tenfold. Unlike The Jester this guy never sold out and walked the talk until the bitter end.

I've always believed the world's best talent goes unrecognized most of the time but the story of Sixto Rodriguez puts that theory into the "true" category once and for all and I will never doubt it again. Please recognize this man's work! Hopefully his daughters will continue to work toward that end both in the USA and South Africa.
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Great Art Always Survives
clarkj-565-16133626 August 2012
This documentary really grows on you. As the story and the search begins, you slowly but surely get caught up in the narrative. For me the amazing part of this journey is the composure and serenity of Rodriguez himself. Despite the lack of recognition in his own country, he continued to lead a rich life filled with hope and creativity. Just looking at his 3 beautiful daughters is testament to this. The sound tracks are really wonderful and take you back to the 60s and 70s. Another interesting facet of this movie is the exploration of the overthrow of Apartheid. Many who embraced the music of Rodriquez were Africaaners who were looking for change and a better life for everyone in their country. You come out of this movie believing in a better world.
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Well worth your time...
BarbP45124 July 2012
This film was by far our favorite at the True/False Film Festival in Columbia Missouri this past spring.

The delights of "Searching for Sugar Man" are revealed along the way, as the story unspools over decades and continents. I BEG YOU to cover your eyes and ears if you happen to see a trailer at your local indie theater - the art of the trailer is apparently a lost one, and most of the surprises are spoiled in the promotion prepared for this film.

The director received a well-earned standing ovation at True/False, and wept - he and other directors said that T/F was the first audience of "real people" to see their respective films, apparently Sundance is peopled with "not real people"?

And be prepared to have the music playing in your head for some time to come.
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One of the most bizarre true stories in the history of popular music
wizface6 February 2012
Who would know that an unknown album from an unknown artist in 1970 (Rodriguez) would become a huge phenomenon in South Africa? As big as say, Paul McCartney. Rodriguez himself was never aware of his huge success, as well as most other Americans. This film traces two hardcore fans as they trace clues around the globe trying to find out what happened to this man. Did he commit a gruesome suicide as rumors say? If so, when and where? Almost nothing was known of this mystery man. The film unfolds a story that cannot be believed by any party. Not the South Africans, nor the filmmakers, or any member of the Rodriquez family. A story that you would swear would not be possible in this day and age of digital communications.
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One Of the Best Films Of the Year
georgep5319 August 2012
I'm going to add my voice such as it is to the chorus of accolades for "Searching For Sugar Man". I loved it. It is indeed an incredible true story about a folk singer named Rodriquez who became a sensation in South Africa while remaining in obscurity in his native US. He's not the first person to be given the boot in his hometown (the Bible has something to say on this subject) but upon listening to the wonderful soundtrack of this film it is a sad commentary. There's plenty of humor here as well in this tale of parallel universes: one in which Rodriquez is Elvis and another where he's scarcely a blip on the radar. The film begins as an investigation by curious fans seeking to learn about the whereabouts of Rodriquez and what may have happened to him. The stories circulating about him are not promising but they are undaunted and continue to search for answers. I think everyone who sees "Searching For Sugar Man" will be thankful that they did.
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Long lost gem. Lovely movie and a must for fans of Dylan-esque music
ajvi9921 July 2012
I caught this movie at an advanced screening at the UN during Mandela week and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the movie and even more enthralled to discover this long, lost gem of music. The movie revolves around an up-and-coming Rock'n'roller from the 70s who recorded two albums and then disappeared into obscurity. His music was lost in the US but by a strange coincidence becomes a cult hit in South Africa and becomes a symbol of rebellion for the underground white, anti-apartheid sub-culture. The documentary is a lovely journey of discovery of the south africans who try to find the roots of this enigma and re-discover his music. I won't spoil too much but for fans of Dylan like music, this might be a long, lost gem and music that perhaps, at least now, deserves more recognition and appreciation.
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By far THE BEST story I have every heard!!!
justagirldc2 October 2012
This movie is a MUST SEE. If you are a musician or songwriter and you have ever questioned the importance of what it is that you do, you need to see this film. This was the most inspiring thing I have ever seen. Aside from the unbelievable story, the cinematography had some very great moments and not to mention a stellar sound track. I am recommending this film to everyone I know. The only drawback is that because it is an indie film, it is very hard to find. It is only playing in one theater in my area (DC), and that's West End. I really hope this films picks up and begins showing in more theaters. Until then, I will continue to promote this film via word of mouth because I believe in it so much. ...Amazing things happen.
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Never stop dreaming
darren-153-89081027 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
In a world full of over marketed terrible so called artists with no talent we have Rodriguez, a poet, the voice of a generation & a very humble man,

After wasting £12 on the Dark Knight last night I released why I loved Indie cinema.

This is such a touching tale of hope, dreams and acceptance. The tale of Rodriguez is an over whelming one, especially as he actually appears to be as mysterious as the legend says.

The man is an icon in South African and became the voice of Apartheid, changing millions of peoples lives in the process, yet It's criminal that a man of his talent is unknown in his native home town of Detroit. A town that gave us Motown, Iggy Pop & Ella Fitzgerald. I can only think his record label didn't promote him correctly. It actually makers me sick when I watch Xfactor c**ts selling tons of records when artists like Rodriguez get no recognition what so ever.

Cynics would say it's a big marketing ploy to sell more records. But who cares, its heart warming to see his working class family talk about their up bringing and what it meant to see him perform to the people who really acre about his music.

Never stop dreaming and always be true to yourself!
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one of the best music docs ever made
This is one of the best music docs ever made! The story about Sixto Rodriguez misfortunes and fortunes is almost to good to be true. It's like a fairy tale, only that this is real life. Swedish film maker Malik Bendjelloul treats the story with great respect and construct the film in a way almost like a thriller without a dead second and the end will not leave a single eye dry. Cinematographer Camilla Skagerstrom made an excellent job in creating a beautiful movie and the music (all by Rodriguez)makes a great soundtrack and it is hard to believe that this musical treasure was forgotten for so many years. Not only is this a strong personal portrait of a grate musician but it also makes you wonder about the mechanics of fame, success and the music industry.
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A Must-See. Truly
CarpeDiemFilm6 November 2012
Rodriguez (Sugarman), is one of the greatest men I have ever known.

This isn't a review, at least I don't consider it one; I don't review on IMDb, and there's a good chance I never will; but I feel compelled to leave my experience and thoughts, though briefly, here.

I saw this movie today knowing nothing about the subject material or the man himself; after leaving the theatre into a dimming sunset I texted my friend "I have a new hero."

That is probably the greatest praise I have ever gave a film.

Soulful, touching, heartrending and uplifting, this film------ you cannot write this, you cannot make this up, it is a story of true brilliance and daunting inspiration. There is so much to commend, praise, remark about this movie... but honestly I don't want to cite any one thing because it would spoil the experience of watching the story unfold and the mystery of Sugarman being shaped weakened. The bottom line is: It is a story that is too real, poignant, and far-fetched to exist anywhere on a writer's board or in a screenplay; this is why documentaries will never die, and they will always have a reserved place in the realm of cinema, films of fiction and artistry just cannot pierce the depth that this one finds. It is one of the greatest documentaries I have ever seen, possibly the greatest.

I cried throughout the picture. A must-see.

I write this review with the intention that I hope to encourage others to go see this movie: If you do you won't regret it and if you see it years later on television, you'll regret you didn't take the chance when you had it.
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Wow. Just. Wow.
stewickie22 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I wasn't going to make time to see "Searching For Sugar Man" when I first heard about it. I'm not a music person. I don't have a CD collection. I listen to music, but I don't love any one musician. I don't even commit to a favorite genre. So, why would I subject myself to an hour and a half documentary about a musician I've never heard of? But, the reviews I found on-line were very favorable. The presentation of the subject sounded interesting to me. And to be honest, I didn't really believe the story could be true. By the time the screening date arrived, I had to go see this "real fairy tale".

Wow. Just. Wow.

Thank you, Malik Bendjelloul, for giving me the opportunity to hear this amazing story. Thank you, Camilla Skagerstrom, for showing how much stunning cinematography can add to a story about a poverty stricken man from Detroit.

The following does contain spoilers….so, if you are going to see the movie…. stop reading here and go see it. But, if you are not sure you want to spend your hard earned cash to watch this documentary, please read on….because seriously? You are missing out if you don't see it.

In case you don't know the story, I'll give you just a little background. Rodriguez, a song writer/singer in the 70s was 'discovered' by a couple of white guys, in a smoke filled Detroit dive bar. (His music reminds me somewhat of Bob Dylan's) A couple of albums were produced in the U.S.….the albums didn't make it big….in fact, not many sold. Rodriguez went back to working his day job and that was the end of that. However, in the very isolated South Africa, Rodriguez's music became a phenomenon compared to Elvis or the Beatles. His music was a solace for so many Africans fighting the war on Apartheid. Rodriguez didn't know anything about the South Africa portion of his story. "Searching for Sugar Man" is a documentary made about two South Africans searching for information about a mysterious American songwriter, who had a huge impact on their lives, but no one seemed to know anything about.

This IS a real fairy tale. One you have to see to believe. One that can restore your faith in humanity, and possibly change the way you see fame and fortune. One that will remind you that you never know how far reaching your daily actions may be.

Wow. Just. Wow.
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Amazing Documentary
Tony Rome6 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Saw this film in the Hamptons, Rodriguez was the surprise special guest. He still sounded like the recordings made over 40 years ago. This astonishing documentary garnered a standing ovation from the audience. The film is put together in a crafty manner, with great visuals and interviews. If Rodriguez originally recorded in the 1990's it would be very hard to "disappear," especially with the advent of the coming Internet, but since his story starts in the 60's and ends in the 70's for about half a decade, it would be easy just to disappear. The songs on the soundtrack are brilliant. This film is a contender for best documentary at the 2012 Oscars. Keep on singing Rodriguez. **********
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Feelgood true-story movie - a few bits missing
joachimokeefe23 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
In the early 1970s, a shy Mexican singer-songwriter in Detroit makes two albums which sell 'six copies', and is tracked down in obscurity nearly 30 years later by a journalist from South Africa, where he's become 'bigger than Elvis'. Triumphant sell-out concerts follow, while the man himself remains modest and enigmatic.

What's not to like? Rodriguez himself comes across as a nice guy, still mega-cool at 70, his music is like Bill Withers' with a harder, more earnest political edge, as well as being relevant to the end of the Apartheid regime, and the whole idea that a man could become a superstar simply by word of mouth chimes nicely with the YouTube superstar dream that's around at the moment.

Technically top-notch; great photography, the songs themselves are integrated really well and don't overstay their welcome, and the whole sense of story and journey is maintained right to the end.

Maybe it's because it comes from a less media-savvy, less jaded country that afterwards you do get the feeling that they could have been a little more incisive. Clarence Avant, the chairman of Sussex Records who received the platinum-selling royalties from SA, scarily blusters his way out of explaining how 'the money doesn't matter'. We never get to hear about, let alone meet, Rodriguez' wives, and as one of the talking heads says, 'Rodriguez doesn't give away anything of himself'. Nor does he in this movie, which leaves you wanting more. There's also the (unmentioned) point that Rodriguez did actually tour Australia and Sweden in the 80's - so he wasn't totally off the radar.

But while they're telling the story, these questions don't really matter. The story is well paced, and there's enough original footage to bring to life the triumphant comeback concert where Rodriguez spent 15 minutes just taking applause before playing a note.

Somehow I kept thinking of 'Spinal Tap' - there are quite a few funny moments - and 'Searching for Sugar Man' does have its eventual happy ending. And here's a thought - without music piracy it would never have happened.
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Moving documentary plays fast and loose with the cold facts
guyau-399-683721 January 2013
Talented Detroit troubadour could have been a star, but his 1970s albums fail to sell and he is consigned to a life of obscurity and hard labor, until rediscovered by millions of adoring fans he never knew he had. This is inspiring stuff, a moving feel-good movie with a detective plot, as a record store owner and a journalist hunt down the enigmatic Rodriguez, whose album Cold Fact made him an anonymous superstar in South Africa.

This is a great piece of manipulative filmmaking, but as a documentary it asks more questions than it answers, and never lets the facts stand in the way of a good story. First up we are told Rodriguez was more famous than the Rolling Stones in South Africa, artistically his only peer was Bob Dylan, and he was a leading inspiration in the struggle against apartheid. Come on. Really? Then, based on unsubstantiated guesstimates from "half a million" to "millions" of album sales, the film asks where the royalties went, but doesn't follow through. They interview Rodriguez, who surely could have answered this question, along with many others, but we see little of the man himself, except for wistful shots of him looking out a window, while his daughters and the South Africans do most of the talking.

I wanted to see Rodriguez, but this becomes more a story of the South Africans and their feeble attempts to track him down. These included putting his picture on milk cartons and spreading rumors of his self-immolation on stage, which sounded more like attempts to promote the myth ahead of his tours of South Africa. Also, the movie implies Rodriguez was unheard of outside South Africa, but Cold Fact was also popular in Australia, where Rodriguez toured in the late 70s and then with Midnight Oil. I know, I was a fan and had a copy of the album, as did most of my friends. We are also told he survived his life after music by working as a demolition man. Nice hard luck story, but an internet search reveals he was also a teacher and social worker, and the movie quickly passes over his graduation from university.

Rodriguez was a unique talent, I loved his music, and this film does a great job of giving this humble man the recognition he deserves. It is a moving cinema experience and well worth seeing, but this is faction as much as fact, which is carefully excised to fit the myth.
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Searching for Sixto
ferguson-626 August 2012
Greetings again from the darkness. I make no apologies for my tendency to have higher expectations and be more demanding of documentaries than other films. When dealing with a real subject, event or person, there is no place for fabrication or embellishment. The truth must stand (and entertain) on its own. Filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul has no such issue given his fascinating, almost jaw-dropping story of musician Sixto Rodriguez.

Described as Dylan-esque, Rodriguez was a folk singer and songwriter who put out two albums: Cold Fact (1970) and Comng from Reality (1971). Despite critical raves, the album sales were minimal and Sussex/A&R dropped him. After that, the story got a bit hazy. Urban Legend had Rodriguez dousing himself with gasoline while onstage, and committing suicide by lighting himself up. Mostly he just seemed to disappear, not simply fade away.

Nearly incomprehensible in today's age of internet communication, the Rodriguez songs became anthems for the anti-apartheid whites in South Africa. The music reached the country through bootleg copies and the popularity grew. We meet a Cape Town record store owner and indie music supporter names Stephen Segerman who describes Rodriguez as "bigger than Elvis" in South Africa. In the late 1990's a world wide web manhunt began.

What happens after that ... I will leave it to the film. Just know that this documentary is a blend of Mystery, Intrigue, Urban Legend, Who-done-it, and Where are they now? There is a brief interview with Clarence Avant, the owner of now-defunct Sussex Records, during which he provides the only real insight into the music industry underbelly. Additionally, so much of the story goes unexplained. So many questions unanswered ... even unasked! However, the story itself, and Rodriguez the man, are so amazing, that the entertainment and intellectual value of the film remains intact.

Since the vast majority (99% plus) of us have never previously heard of Rodriguez, the film does a nice job of integrating his songs in a manner that allows us to get a real understanding for the musical genius and why the critics (and South Africa) fell hard for it. This is a fascinating story and captivating film, despite lacking in "the rest of the story" department.
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He wanted to make a difference, and he did so, without knowing it.
johnsojl19751 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is a wonderful documentary about a blue collar poet and musician and his place in history of the white, anti-apartheid underground music scene of South Africa. I am intrigued by the music: it makes me think of today's world with the Occupy Movement, the Arab Spring, the Mexican drug wars, or even just middle class America. Even the local sports talk radio guys were touched by the heart wrenching/heart warming story of an obscure musician, discovered in Detroit, given two albums that flopped (financially), and who returned to obscurity.

(Spoiler Alert) For myself, with 3 young kids, I am touched by the interviews with his daughters about how he raised them to be comfortable with enjoying the culture of the "elites" even though they were extremely poor. I am glad to hear the story of a person rich in spirit and heart but not in wealth. Everyone should seek stories such as this about such a man.

I am intrigued by the music and would like to hear more. I am glad they included so much.

The movie is a fun tale of a couple fans searching for their unknown music hero. As a history buff, though, I would love to see more: a PBS/Discovery/etc. follow-up on the historical involvement of the South African music scene, or parallels between Detroit & South Africa in the '60s-80s, etc, would be a great TV and DVD pairing.

The poet, father, musician, and man described in the story is an inspiration. To this end, the interviews in this documentary are wonderful.
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Touching but ...
akeslocum131 August 2012
While "Searching for Sugar Man" is, more than anything else, unquestionably a testament to Rodriguez's craft and humility, it is frankly manipulative to suggest that he had no popularity anywhere but South Africa. I have personal memories of "Cold Fact" being an integral part of the musical soundscape in Australia during the early to mid 70's, particularly in the surfing community, and he was popular there before he caught on in South Africa. He actually toured Australia in 1979, and in 1981 he opened for Midnight Oil on their Australian tour. The message of Rodriguez's musical journey is undeniable but the filmmakers' omission of facts to make a sensational story even more sensational, is crass.
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Searching for Sugar Man
lasttimeisaw29 July 2012
A KVIFF viewing of this demystifying documentary of a miracle would never find a copycat in the digital-era, Rodriguez "The Sugar Man", an American minstrel in the 1970s who has sold a sensational figure of records in South Africa while being exclusively oblivious in USA, and when rumor says he died in a suicide attempt while performing it on stage, the story seems to reach its cul-de-sac. But two South Africans, take the onerous task to dig out the mystery behind (including the director himself), and eventually the truth has been disclosed in a quite satisfying way both on screen and off screen.

First of all, Rodriguez's songs (from his albums COLD FACT 1970, COMING FROM REALITY 1971, and a piece from his never-released third album) have prevailed in the entire film's narrative, which after a first-time listening, feels more affinity with Bob Dylan's Folk Rock tunes, most of which pertain to lower-class or working-class self-inspection, definitely have their own mark of time.

The poignancy has been simmered halfway through when the story has a dramatic twist and leads to the second half of the film into a different angle of revelation, an enigmatic fetish figure's condescendence into the real world. And a poetic license has to be introduced to his personal life as de-iconization is always a tough call to make.

Then, about what prompted Rodriguez's case so unique? The film seems to be a bit withdrawn in unraveling the real reason behind it (a deliberate conspiracy theory is never in the picture), indeed, even there were merely 40 years before, we already have forgotten how things stand at then, and this could be a scarier discovery.

By the way, the film has a very audience-friendly approach, and if you are a music enthusiast, this film will be a delectable choice to be enchanted by the pure magic of music.
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A music documentary with a difference
Red-Barracuda22 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is a music biography with a bit of a difference. Normally when we settle down to watch one of these we know in advance what the artist's music is like. Even if we are not committed fans we usually at least know something. In this documentary this will simply not be the case for the vast majority of folks who decide to watch it. For this reason, Searching for Sugar Man is somewhat unusual.

Its subject, the singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, recorded a couple of critically praised but commercially disastrous albums in the early 70's. He was quickly dropped by his record label and then basically vanished from the public eye for over quarter of a century. Rumours of his on-stage suicide circulated as fact. Where the story becomes a little unexpected is that through word of mouth he became massive in South Africa of all places. In the apartheid years his music developed a following that rivalled bands like the Rolling Stones. His lyrics hit a note with white liberals there and his albums became anti-establishment classics. Many of the people who would make important contributions to overturning the apartheid regime were influenced by Rodriguez. But the thing is, he knew absolutely nothing of his fame and popularity there. He received no royalties at all for the 500,000 albums he sold in South Africa. When interviewed, his label boss Clarence Avant gets a little shifty when asked about this. It seems that Rodriguez had been dealt a somewhat bum hand.

The second act of the story began when one of the South Africans who loved him discovered when speaking to an American friend that Rodriguez albums were impossible to buy in the States. This was something of a revelation, as up until this point it was generally assumed that he must have been a peer of Bob Dylan and just as popular. This led to a quest to discover more about the man; it led to the incredible discovery that he was still alive and living a modest life in Detroit with his daughters. The man himself was utterly unaware of his cultural impact in South Africa. The South African's subsequently organised concerts back home and so Rodriguez went there in the late 90's. A nobody at home, there he played to crowds of tens of thousands of people of all ages in the spectrum. They all seemed to know his records off by heart too. It was a revelation to witness this strange but uplifting story arc.

It's difficult to really know why Rodriguez never made it at the time. Many now classic acts such as Nick Drake never made it during their recording careers either. Sometimes a combination of things just conspires against a musician and Rodriguez seems to have been a victim of this circumstance. His music certainly is good - and there are nice animated segments to go along with some of his songs here – but it's difficult to say how good on one viewing. Certainly there were a lot of singer-songwriters in the early 70's on the back of Dylan. But what makes this documentary so interesting is not just the discovery of something hidden and good but also the realisation that a mass cultural happening could occur on another side of the world without it's figurehead knowing the slightest thing about it. It's overall a fascinating story and one for all music fans.
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amazing story
blanche-21 February 2013
"Searching for Sugar Man" is a 2012 documentary about Sixto Rodriguez, a musical artist from the late '60s and early '70s whose records never sold; he was dropped by his record label and subsequently disappeared.

While Rodriguez, who hailed from Detroit, was a big nobody in the rest of the world, it turns out that his music was huge in South Africa, and even though some songs were banned, his albums Cold Fact and Coming from Reality sold in big numbers. He became the voice of Apartheid and was an influence on many musicians there.

Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul tells the story of two South African fans trying to find out if Rodriguez had indeed killed himself after a concert, as was rumored, and if it wasn't, what had happened to him.

Though Rodriguez is somewhat similar to Dylan, his lyrics, to me anyway, are far more spectacular, the work of a true poet. How he escaped recognition is beyond me. Also beyond me is where all the money is from those half million or so albums that were sold. Strange - no one seems to know.

"Searching for Sugar Man" is a wonderful story, well told in this documentary, of the search for this talented artist. It moves quickly but packs a wallop. It is well deserving of all the awards it has won. And the music and messages of Sixto Rodriguez deserve to be heard.
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A true life fable.
ndftc2 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This documentary is best seen without knowing anything about it in advance because of some rather large surprises. In fact, the story arc works so cleverly that it is all the more unbelievable that this is true story rather than a work of fiction. It made me giggle; it made me cry. Beyond this information, it is best that you not read further until after you see the film.

"Sugar Man" points an accusatory finger at the music record industry in general, and at one greedy company in particular. It also celebrates the life of a gifted, though unknown, American musician whose music made a major impact on an isolated and oppressed culture on the other side of the world.

It is a rewarding fable and an updated fairy tale that should appeal to a wide audience.
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A story of the search of a great musician lost in the distant and in time.
luisfveloz30 December 2012
This is my very first review, about an amazing, amazing story, worth writing a first review, It's about the search of a guitar player known as Rodriguez, who in the 70's with only two albums, apparently He doesn't have any success in the U.S. but unknowingly he is huge in South Africa, it is a story full of hope, almost like a fairy tale, but still a documentary, so it makes it even more unbelievable, the storyline is well done, the editing places the pieces correctly, building expectation, making the viewer a part of it, interviewing the right people, unveiling the nature of the humankind, the photography is beautiful and the use some amateur footage, combines to ensure the historical value, delivering a well crafted movie, that you won't forget. highly recommended.
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Genuine uplifting feeling from the real life story, bravo.
benchu-445-8159939 August 2012
When I saw the promotion from youtube and hulu, it really did not register me that well that it would be a great experience to come, the place I went to see the film did not accept credit card, so I was hesitant to get in, luckily just had the exact cash amount for the ticket, less than handful of audience, expected from indie movie market.

Apart from the technical aspect of the film, story of the singer, Rodriguez, alone was good enough to give me genuine feeling of moving and uplifting emotions. Sure I can get spectacular visual effects and superb acting from big budget films,and even better storyline with superior presentation...etc. What really counts from this one is being documentary = true life story of great artist Rodriguez, his greatness was reflected really well from his fans, instead from his own narration. Perhanps its better that way for this particular film. Also I admit that one of reason for me to watch this movie was my own personal need for little escape from the tight real life situation I was in around that time, maybe it added personal bias to the review, still I think its worth the ticket price to get such appreciation for life and music.
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Everything a superb documentary should be
diane-3419 March 2013
We watched this absolutely remarkable documentary in Fremantle yesterday and both of us commented as we left the theatre that this film would stay in our minds for a long time. Diane is not as great a fan of documentaries as I am so this comment coming from her says much about the emotional impact of this film.

I knew nothing of the film except the film notes and the bit that interested me was the idea of there being a forgotten musical genius from the 70s. That intrigued me but the film was even more than just about a performer that time passed; it was a fascinating detective mystery about the search for this guy which was about half the film.

I have read some of the negative comments from IMDb readers who say that the producers built up the story unfairly; the guy had a strong following here in Australia and not just in South Africa but I not accept this idea because I thought the producers had enough trouble tracing Rodriguez from South Africa without throwing in another distant country to boot.

This film is about a guy who had: great talent, a humble background (with all that entails in terms of career boosting), an introspective personality and bad luck from so-called business supporters. Do yourself a favour and search for the film in any form; it is truly worth it!
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