Sunday, November 10, 2013

Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

Director: Malik Bendjelloul
Writers:  Malik Bendjelloul, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman

The documentary feature the search for the mythical musician Rodriguez, whose music is etched into the minds of South Africans who were behind the iron curtain of the Apartheid Regime. They don't know anything about him other than he committed suicide on stage whilst performing.

The film is another proof for the dictum that 'Facts can be stranger than Fiction'. It is better to watch the film without any prior knowledge whatsoever. When the film reveals that he was dead at the beginning itself, I thought it is good that they got it out of the way immediately, like Herzog did in Grizzly Man. The twist that comes later doesn't cheapen the film. Rodriguez is from Detroit and the way Detroit (now bankrupt city) is depicted in it with his music as background adds to the mysticism.

The film won the Academy Award for best documentary last year. The documentary in the way the story is revealed is similar to Dear Zachary and Catfish both of which I really liked.  Some people have complained about the documentary not revealing that he was actually famous also in Australia and had done a concert there in the late 70s. I didn't find it disingenuous as the film is told from the perspective of South Africans who had no idea about him and his story during the Apartheid regime. 

Rodriguez did some tours in US after people got to know about him and his music through the documentary.

Rating: 4.5/5