searching for sugar man fact or fiction
[14] Because of this omission some critics have called the documentary "myth-making". Searching for Sugar Man (Bendjelloul, 2012) is a Swedish-British documentary film that details the cultural phenomenon of American musician Sixto Rodriguez in South Africa. Searching for Sugar Man has been described as a fairy tale. In March 1998, the South Africans brought Rodriguez, along with his daughters, to Cape Town to begin a tour of the country. All rights reserved. Please click the link below to receive your verification email. The absence of tough journalistic questions concerning why exactly Rodriguez’s music didn’t take off in America, why he dropped out of sight so precipitously, and his current ambivalence toward his quietly rising celebrity, therefore seems almost appropriate. Don’t worry, it won’t take long. Ignored in America, adored in South Africa. If “Searching for Sugar Man” is hagiographic, it seems intentionally so: the film is less about a man than about a myth, and about the experience of loving – and, to a lesser extent, being – an under-loved artist. It evokes another Dylan song, “It’s All Right, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” but again it more explicitly criticizes the existing state of society. For example, this review by Peter Bradshaw in the UK Guardian: “Here, though, we come to the flaw in the movie. Why not? After three years of cutting-room work the main financial backers of the film threatened to withdraw funding to finish it. Without revealing too much, this is one of the best documentaries made in quite some time, close to perfect. The very lack of Rodriguez’ presence in the early part of the film, when the film is really his story, speaks volumes of the air of mythos Bendjelloul wishes to impart on how the audience initially views Rodriguez. Throughout the film, Rodriguez is portrayed in a very mythical and enigmatic light and this essay will analyse this portrayal in relation to the opening five minutes of the film just after the opening credits. |, September 13, 2012 on new era, women rally for Polanski ouster, ‘French Oscars’ seek to bury #MeToo crisis by naming male-female duo to head César Academy, Week in Review: Lebanon's deadlock, a Supreme Court battle and Covid-19 clampdowns in France, French actor Michael Lonsdale dies aged 89. | Rating: 4/5 It’s no surprise the film racked up prizes at the Sundance Film Festival last winter and is now a frontrunner for the best documentary Oscar. Roe opines that “animation and documentary make an odd couple” and that they are a union of opposites that offer a unique perspective in how we view and see the world (2013:1). Rodriguez's music, which had never achieved success in the United States, had become very popular in South Africa although little was known about him in that country. [13], The film's narrative of a South African story about an American musician omits that Rodriguez was successful in Australia in the 1970s and toured there in 1979 and 1981. A fascinating portrait of a forgotten musical pioneer, Searching for Sugar Man is by turns informative and mysterious. 2013, International man of mystery. Coming Soon. It reached No. This is a story that is almost too special to believe it is true, but the film strikes a genuine tone that is as interested as the viewer to get to the bottom of this mysterious man. By creating an account, you agree to the Privacy Policy © 2020 Copyright France 24 - All rights reserved. |, January 31, 2019 Even the pitch sounds farcical: a Swedish director’s investigation into a US folk musician whose career crashed before it ever got off the ground, but who, unbeknown to him, became an icon among South Africans under the erroneous impression that he was dead. | Rating: 4/4 Admirers in South Africa, where his recordings had become so popular, knew nothing about Rodriguez—where he came from, what inspired his music, not even his full name. For those of you that don’t know the story, Searching for Sugar Man is the tale of an American musician who went by the name of Rodriguez (aka Sixto) and put out two records in the early ’70s before disappearing after his career didn’t take off in the USA and rumors of his death by suicide started to spread. | Rating: 4/5 | Rating: 4/5 Rosenthal describes the issue of ethics in documentary cinema as the director’s burden to bear as in documentaries “filmmakers use and expose people’s lives” (2007:389); therefore it is the director’s responsibility to be as truthful as possible when constructing the film. Commissioned along with another writer to produce liner notes for the first CD release of that album, “we pondered the whereabouts of Rodriguez and asked if there were ‘any Musicologist detectives out there’ willing to help find this elusive man. It was believed that Rodriguez had killed himself onstage during a performance. A must-see for any music fan or avid follower of documentaries. United Kingdom. No one took the time to Google the man after watching the film. He wasn’t as obscure as they make it out in the movie.”. They describe their lives of poverty, and their father’s determination to provide them access to the best in culture. The film centres around the endeavours of two South African music fans in the late 1990s who embark on a mission to find out whether the rumoured death of Rodriguez is true, and if not, to discover what truly … It is. The fact Rodriguez’s music somehow touched a nerve in the hearts of young white liberals in South Africa in a way Bob Dylan and the Beatles touched other people around the world in the ’60s. With most of today’s documentaries tackling weighty subjects like war, disease, murder, or politics, it’s somewhat startling to discover a non-fiction film with the narrative arc of a fairytale and the feel-good vibe of a mainstream Hollywood comedy. South African made For TV movie 'Looking For Jesus' based on original article written by Craig Bartholomew Strydom, Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, "The 85th Academy Awards (2013) Nominees and Winners", Sveriges Radio, Sommar i P1: Malik Benjelloul; Summary in English: "You've only got three months", "Searching for Sugar Man on Box Office Mojo", "Against the Odds, Smart Films Thrive at the Box Office", "Searching For Sugar Man: myth-making at its best? In Denmark it reached No. The sequence starts off with different shots of inner city Detroit as we hear the first-hand accounts of Mike Theodore and Dennis Coffey’s first encounter with Rodriguez in a bar as he plays with his back to the audience. Don't have an account? 4th edn. What Bendjelloul has given us, above all, is a portrait of the artist as an enigma, eluding the public’s reach but enjoying a freedom to which this very fine documentary pays loving tribute. | Rating: 3.5/4 He is the director of the film and it ultimately it his job to construct the narrative of his film in a way that is as impactful as possible. You're almost there! It is somewhat surprising no one has written about these facts in the US considering the film infers the artist had been neglected in his home country all these years. They won't be able to see your review if you only submit your rating. Searching for Sugar Man is a 2012 Swedish–British–Finnish documentary film about a South African cultural phenomenon, directed and written by Malik Bendjelloul, which details the efforts in the late 1990s of two Cape Town fans, Stephen "Sugar" Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, to find out whether the rumoured death of American musician Sixto Rodriguez was true and, if not, to discover … But that’s precisely what 35-year-old Malik Bendjelloul, who previously made several short music documentaries for Swedish TV, has come up with in “Searching for Sugar Man”. France 24 is not responsible for the content of external websites. Searching for Sugar Man performed well during its theatrical release, earning $3,696,196 at the US box office (47th of all US docs on Box Office Mojo). In fact, that wasn’t the story at all. Therefore it can be argued that Bendjelloul’s decision to construct Rodriguez as an enigmatic figure was a decision he made to help tell a better story. And Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids? Just below that it reads "Ticket Confirmation#:" followed by a 10-digit number. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Yet, while Rodriguez was deemed a commercial failure at home, his records were extremely popular in South Africa and, about that suicide… not so much. "[9] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 79 out of 100 based on 32 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". A riveting, incredible documentary about the talented musician Rodriguez and how, after two hit albums in the 1970's, disappeared seemingly into thin air. PG-13 (Some Drug References|Brief Strong Language), Red Box Films, Still, looking forward to seeing the film.”, The comments were so numerous BaddHamster finally responded, “So he’s an obscure musician who apparently everybody in the world (judging from this thread) has heard at some time or another? There is the story of young Afrikaners opposed to apartheid in the ’70s and ’80s. Searching for Sugar Man is a 2012 soundtrack album from the documentary containing a compilation of songs by Rodriguez from his two studio albums. The director interweaves their story with that of Rodriguez’s stateside collaborators, who voice a sort of wistful bafflement at his failure to break through (or the American public’s failure to embrace him), before slipping a third narrative strand into the final act: Rodriguez himself. In a coincidental turn of events, the album ended up in South Africa, where it quickly became a sensation and catapulted Rodriguez into a pantheon of musical idols that included Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Clarence Avant, onetime chairman of Motown Records and known as the “godfather of black music,” founded the label in 1969 and owned it until it folded in 1975. We want to hear what you have to say but need to verify your email. “The movie isn’t true,” he went on to say. A heart-warming documentary about holding onto your dreams -- and perhaps one of this year's most enjoyable and accomplished films. When we finally see the singer, he looks very much the aging rock star, with shaggy hair, a weathered face, and dark glasses.


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