Reviewed by Pat Burns – Western Regional Editor for GRAND Magazine
Official video trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDw7OqVBT-w
After a busy and happy summer playing with my visiting grandkids (and working my regular job), I’m now able to throw myself back into writing movie reviews.
To kick it off I want to recommend Searching for Sugar Man. This documentary, directed by Malik Bendjelloul, is a true story about Rodriquez [Sixto Rodriguez], a Detroit singer-songwriter from the late 1960s. Most baby boomers probably have never heard of Rodriquez, so why do a movie about someone who didn’t make it?
It’s because this movie had to be made. It’s time for us boomers — the music generation — to discover something extraordinary that we somehow missed. It still remains a mystery why this American folk musician with his remarkable voice, visionary lyrics and poignant melodies was overlooked as one of the greatest recording artists of our time. After years of performances in nearly empty bars, failed record sales and an urban legend about a horrific onstage suicide — Rodriguez and his music faded into obscurity.
Until something remarkable happened. A bootleg recording of Rodriquez’s album Cold Fact was brought into South Africa by a young woman during the anti-apartheid movement and became a sensation there. Over the next two decades, the album sold more than 500,000 copies in South Africa, keeping Rodriquez’s music alive there.
The film shares the story of two South African fans who set out to discover what really happened to their idol. Their relentless pursuit is the premise of this remarkable movie.
Searching for Sugar Man is also about second chances and dreams that live in the soul and never die. This film touched me, and I believe other boomers will find it as compelling as I did.