Searching for Sugarman

October 17, 2012 at 11:07 am | Posted in 2012 | Leave a comment
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I really cannot recommend this documentary enough, especially to those who love music and/or heart-warming stories.  It tells the tale of Rodriguez a Detroit-based folk singer in the late 60s, early 70s, who cut two albums that went less than nowhere.  In the USA, that is.  Through some too-crazy-to-be-real circumstances, his first album became a huge hit in South Africa and a galvanizer for the young anti-apartheid movement.  Yet, nobody in the US had any idea of this and all people in South Africa knew was that Rodriguez had killed himself in the late 70s.  From there a rather gripping detective story begins and two South Africans decide to track down exactly how Rodriguez died.  The story takes them to Paris, Amsterdam, L.A. and places in between as they slowly root out the truth against all odds.  What starts out as one type of film ends up becoming another, equally pleasing one.  Part history lesson, part detective story, part a heartwarming story of redemption, this film never made me bored and left me wanting more of Rodriguez’s fantastic songs.  His music reminded me so much of Nick Drake but with the sort of grittiness you expect from Lou Reed and the occasionally turn of phrase like Leonard Cohen’s.  If anybody wanted to know what to get me for Christmas, one of his two albums would do the trick nicely.  I challenge anyone not to like this film.

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