Searching for Sugar Man: Review

Posted 26/07/2012

Searching for Sugar Man

Photo Credit: Hal Wilson, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Discovered in a Detroit bar in 1968, Mexican-American singer/songwriter Sixto Rodriguez was immediately thought to be the Chicano answer to Bob Dylan. However, after disappointing sales on his debut album Cold Fact, he soon disappeared from the music business—and rumours of his onstage suicide overshadowed the good reviews his album received.

Unbeknownst to Rodriguez, a copy of his album made its way halfway around the world to Apartheid-era South Africa. His anti-establishment lyrics quickly solidified him as the voice of a generation hoping for change. He went platinum and became a household name over the course of two decades despite a government ban on his music, but his fans knew nothing of this mysterious and presumed dead man.

‘Searching for Sugar Man’ explores Rodriguez’s beginnings and his mystique, as well as the cultural atmosphere that led to his popularity in South Africa. Pieced throughout the film, his songs unveil his unbelievable talent and offer credibility to his overseas popularity phenomenon.

Most importantly, while making the documentary, the filmmakers discovered Rodriguez is still alive and well in Detroit. Their eventual meeting makes for a great turn in the film and has sparked a resurgence in Rodriguez’s career.

You’ll walk away from ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ with a newfound appreciation of the power of music and a desperate urge to track down some of his tunes. Lucky for you, Sony Music Entertainment has rereleased Rodriguez’s most definitive songs for the film’s soundtrack!

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