Malik Bendjelloul: “Searching for Sugar Man”

See image credit below.

See image credit below.

If you haven’t seen Malik Bendjelloul’s 2012 documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, run right out, buy it, and watch it now! Not surprisingly, this incredible film won numerous awards, including the 2013 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

Searching for Sugar Man tells the nearly unknown story of Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, a Mexican-American singer/songwriter born in Detroit. He recorded albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s. While his recordings soared to popularity in South Africa, his music fell into utter obscurity in the United States. In fact, unless you’ve seen Bendjelloul’s documentary, you likely haven’t heard of Rodriguez. When you do learn about him in this film (which showcases plenty of his phenomenal music), I believe you’ll be as taken with him as I am and as millions of people outside America have been for almost 50 years.

But beyond the powerful personal story of Rodriguez, this film also shines due to the outstanding direction, writing, and filmmaking of first-time Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul. Layered in its telling, Searching for Sugar Man moves back and forth between two plots. Along with two Cape Town fans (Stephen “Sugar” Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydon), Bendjelloul goes on a seemingly insurmountable quest to find Rodriguez. The other plot traces the story of Rodriguez’s life, rise to fame, and fall into obscurity. I can’t say enough about how beautifully this film is made. It is both captivating and awe-inspiring.

By the end of the film, you’ll have not only a new favorite musician (Rodriguez!), but you’ll be in on a great mystery – and you’ll have followed along as the mystery is solved. Bendjelloul’s quest is global. From Sweden to South Africa to Detroit, he travels the world, leaving no stone unturned in his journey to find the elusive Rodriguez.

A musician and a mystery – how can you go wrong?

Ready for the film? Buy the DVD! Learn more about it at the film’s official website and in the New York Times review of the film. A particularly insightful article was published by The Hollywood Reporter after Bendjelloul’s suicide in 2014.

Ready to hear Rodriguez’s music for yourself? Buy the film’s soundtrack CD, or better yet, add the CD reissue of Cold Fact to your collection. Once “Sugar Man” gets in your head, you’ll be humming it all the time! Learn more about the revival of Rodriguez’s career at his official website – and check out Rolling Stone’s article “Rodriguez: 10 Things You Don’t Know about the ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ Star.”

And if you just can’t get enough of this amazing story, you’ll want to read the new book from Segerman and Bartholomew Strydon, Sugar Man: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez.

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Watch and Listen:Watch the 2-minute trailer for the film. Then listen to Rodriguez sing “Sugar Man,” a song from Cold Fact, the 1970 album that was beloved by South Africans.

Image Credit: Malik Bendjelloul,