After missing Searching for Sugar Man at Sundance earlier this year, it was a pleasure to finally catch up with it. Once enough people find out about the story of “Sugar Man” it’s safe to say some of the mystery (and fun) of the film will be taken away, so see it as soon as possible. That being said, this is a finely made documentary that looks to be my top pick of the festival as it nears its end. Find out more about the intrigue of the man, the myth, the legend that never was but now is below…
- Directed and Written by: Malik Bendjelloul
- Producers: Simon Chinn, Malik Bendjelloul
- Editor: Malik Bendjelloul
- Director of Photography: Camilla Skagerstrom
He was supposed to be the next Bob Dylan. Record labels loved him, everyone around him saw greatness, and yet for one reason or another ’70s folk rock musician Rodriguez never made it big. After what seemed to be a massive failure, Rodriguez slipped away and urban legends of different types of onstage suicides emerged. And as he faded away from the US’s memory, one bootlegged copy, somehow showed up in South Africa, where his antiestablishment message resonated with the youth protest movement there, and Rodriguez unknowingly became bigger than Elvis, but no one knew.Decades later, two intrepid fans decide to investigate whatever happened to the mysterious rocker….
- Great Story Telling: The bottom line is that documentaries are comprised of a lot of footage and sometimes you feel the weight of the director wanting to tell you everything. Not only did this director have limited amounts of found footage to deal with seeing as Rodriguez was barely ever in the spotlight and decades of information of to compile, but he also had the challenge of tracking down this mystery man with absolutely no help. Somehow he managed to put it all together and organize it in a way that feel effortless and is a true joy to watch. The film is more like an action/thriller than a documentary.
- A Story We All Want to Hear: We all want to believe that happy endings are real. We all know that we have a better chance of being hit my lightening than having our wildest dreams come true. But we still need to believe it can happen, and it’s nice to know that this one man, who stood up for what he believed in, can finally receive the recognition he deserves. It’s nice to know that sometimes the hero wins.
- Hope: Let’s face it, there’s a lot of crap going on in the world and a lot of documentaries bring that darkness to light and for good reason, BUT everyone once in a while, you watch a film like this and it gives you hope. Hope that the world is a better place, hope that if you’re patient, good things may just happen, and for the filmmaking community, hope that a story well told with a great subject will be loved by the community. This film was successful on all fronts. Not only was this the only film I attended that got a round of applause as the credits rolled, but a standing ovation for the director afterward. This is a film that’s not only needed, but wanted.
I really hope we don’t find out this is fake, I would be so disappointed.
Truly an inspirational story and film. A must see film with heart and a message that many of us want to believe, that ‘maybe if I keep going, my dreams will come true.’ Don’t miss it!